Why Does My Dog Rest on My Abdomen

a puppy sleeping on a woman

If you frequently wake up in the middle of the night to find your dog snoozing on your belly, you might feel a deep sense of love or find it a bit uncomfortable, depending on your pup’s size. However, during the day, you may wonder if there’s a reason behind your dog’s choice of nap spot.

Your dog may rest on your abdomen for various reasons, such as feeling protective of you, seeking safety in your presence, or simply showing affection. In this article, we’ll explore the possible motives behind your dog’s decision to rest on your abdomen and discuss whether dogs can sense their owner’s pregnancy.

The 6 Reasons Why Your Dog Lays on Your Abdomen

1. They’re Feeling Protective

When you sleep, you’re in a vulnerable position, unaware of your surroundings and unprotected. If your dog already possesses strong protective instincts, they may rest on your abdomen as a way of keeping a watchful eye over you. This is especially true if you notice that your dog isn’t sleeping on you but rather lying down, attentively observing their surroundings.

dog lying on owners stomach
Image Credit: Josep Suria, Shutterstock

2. They Want to Feel Safe

If your dog isn’t feeling protective, another possible reason for them to lie on you is because they are seeking your protection. Anxious or nervous dogs may view their owners as a source of strength and safety. In this case, they may rest on your abdomen to feel secure.

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3. They Have Separation Anxiety

Some dogs enjoy spending time alone, being independent and content in their own company. However, others are the complete opposite. They become so attached to their owners that they develop separation anxiety when they have to be apart. If you notice your dog frequently tries to lie on your abdomen when you return home from a long day at work or school, it could be a sign of separation anxiety. Resting on your stomach is your dog’s way of getting as close to you as possible, making up for the time you were apart.

weimaraner dog sitting on owner
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

4. They Are Cold

While your natural body temperature is typically a few degrees cooler than your dog’s, most homes are kept around 20 degrees cooler than body temperature. This temperature difference could make your dog feel cold, especially if they are a short-haired breed. They may snuggle up to your abdomen to steal your body heat and stay warm.

5. They Are Showing Affection

Your dog could simply lie on your abdomen to display affection and seek cuddles. You may have unknowingly reinforced this behavior by petting your dog when they snuggle up to your stomach. If you’re happy to let your dog continue this behavior, go ahead and reward them with affection. However, if your dog has grown too big to comfortably rest on your abdomen, you can begin training them not to by refraining from offering them affection when they cuddle up.

cavalier dog sleeping on owners lap
Image Credit: bane.m, Shutterstock

6. They Find You Relaxing

New puppies often cry on their first nights in a new home because they miss the comfort of sleeping surrounded by their mother and littermates. The sound of the heartbeat and breathing is soothing to them. Similarly, your dog may rest on your abdomen because they find it relaxing. Your calm breathing and steady heartbeat act as a living white noise machine for your furry friend.

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Pregnant woman sitting with a cute dog
Image Credit: dodo3, Pixabay

Can Dogs Sense Pregnancy?

Pregnant individuals often claim that their dogs are aware of their pregnancies, sometimes even before they are themselves. They may notice that their dogs like to rest on their growing bellies. But is this true or simply the assumption of a loving dog owner?

While no research conclusively proves whether dogs can sense pregnancy, we can draw some logical conclusions. Pregnant individuals undergo significant hormonal changes throughout pregnancy, which may alter their underlying scent. Given that a dog’s sense of smell is highly sensitive, it’s possible that they can detect the changes brought on by pregnancy hormones and modify their behaviors accordingly. Additionally, dogs may exhibit changes in behavior due to sensing differences in the pregnant person’s mood or behavior, which can unsettle them. A dog’s response may range from becoming more clingy to more distant or protective, depending on their individual reaction.

Conclusion

Many of us share a unique bond with our dogs, and it manifests in different ways for each individual. While not all dogs may enjoy resting on their owner’s abdomen, they will find other ways to display their affection. However, if you prefer your dog to find another place to sleep, understanding the potential reasons behind their choice can help you train them to sleep elsewhere.

Featured Image Credit: Patrick Tangye, Shutterstock


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