“My dog sleeps on the floor instead of her bed! Why???”
Have you ever purchased what you thought was the perfect dog bed only for your pooch to sleep on the floor next to it?
You’d be surprised how many dog owners have the same problem.
But don’t sweat.
I’m going to give you five reasons why your dog doesn’t sleep in his bed!
Related: Does my dog need a bed
Why Your Dog Sleeps on the Floor Instead the Bed
The internet is full of hilarious photos of dogs sleeping on the floor right next to their beds, but what makes them reject our well-researched (and, let’s be honest, expensive) purchases?
Unfortunately, we can’t get inside a dog’s head and read its mind, so we can only make educated guesses about why a dog likes or doesn’t like his bed.
The good news is that it’s rarely a cause for concern.
However, if you’re worried about your dog sleeping on the floor, you should speak with your vet. That goes for any time you’re concerned about your dog’s strange behavior.
Let’s assume that it’s not related to medical issues, though, and check out some of the other possible reasons your dog rejects his bed.
Related: Does my dog need a bed in his crate?
#1 It’s too hot/cold
One of the most logical reasons why a dog prefers the floor to the bed is the weather. Can you imagine curling up beneath the covers on a hot summer night? I don’t think so.
During summer your dog’s bed might get too stuffy for Sammy’s liking, and he will go looking for a cold spot. The floor is ideal because it feels cool and provides some relief from the heat. Plus, as we know, heat rises, so he’s more likely to catch some cool air down low.
On the other hand, cold/cool weather also might make your dog sleep on the floor. It sounds weird, but my dog does it all of the time. She “chases” the sun’s rays around the house and lays directly in their path on the tiled floor.
Look at where your dog lays on the floor. Is it near a fireplace, heater, or other warm spots? That could give you some major clues, too.
If you’re really worried about Fido sleeping on a cold floor and prefer that he sleeps on a bed, an elevated dog bed is a good option because it keeps them cool in the summer and can easily be moved closer to the heat in the winter.
Related: Why has my dog stopped jumping?
#2 The bed is not comfortable
When it comes to beds, people have different preferences. Some people like hard mattresses, while others can sleep only on something soft and fluffy.
What I’m trying to say is that dogs are not different.
Sammy might not be sleeping in his bed because it’s not comfortable for him and he doesn’t like how it feels when he lies in it.
The material might be too scratchy, something might be poking him, or the padding just isn’t right.
I’ve seen a lot of people recommend feeling the bed with the palm of your hand. Ignore that advice. Instead, feel it with the BACK of your hand. Or better yet, your wrist. These areas are far more sensitive and should give you a better idea of just how comfortable the fabric really is.
If returning the rejected bed and getting something else isn’t an option, try adding a soft dog-friendly blanket to the top for a little extra comfort.
#3 It’s the wrong size
You might think that the size of the bed doesn’t matter, but it does. So, if your dog is sleeping on the floor, you might have bought a bed that’s too small or too big.
Small dogs are too insecure in large beds. They feel exposed to potential threats to lie down and sleep.
What’s more, small dogs and hairless ones often get chilly and large beds could be too cold for their liking even with sufficient paddling.
On the other hand, the bed might be too small for your furbaby to stretch properly. That’s why Sammy prefers to lie on the floor where he can move around freely.
In this case, a large mattress, like a Big Barker dog bed, might be what solves your problem.
For small or medium-sized dogs, you might try nest beds. These beds have a lot of cushioning to keep your dog warm, and the cave-like structure makes your pet feel protected.
To make sure that you don’t make another mistake, you must measure your dog while sleeping if you want to select the best dog bed for him.
#4 I’m used to the floor
For one reason or another, your pooch might not know that he is supposed to sleep in the dog bed.
And dogs are creatures of habit, and if they are used to the floor, they will sleep on the floor.
Fortunately, you can teach your dog to sleep in his bed:
- Observe where your dog feels safe to lie down and place the bed there.
- Choose a command word like “Go to bed.”
- Show Sammy his bed, say the command, and encourage him to get in the bed.
- When he does, give him a treat and praise him.
- Practice the routine several times a day.
Just remember to focus on positive reinforcement. Never punish your dog for not using his bed. That’s the quickest way to get him to really hate it.
#5 I’m in pain
I want to reassure you that most dogs who sleep on the floor are perfectly healthy.
However, if your dog suddenly starts sleeping on hard surfaces and changes his behavior drastically, I would be worried.
Depending on the type of bed and its location, your dog might be having difficulties jumping into the bed or waking up the stairs to reach his bed.
As a dog grows old, certain joint conditions- such as arthritis and hip dysplasia- might affect his ability to move around.
So, if you have an older dog, I would mention the change in sleeping arrangements as soon as possible to your vet. It might be nothing, but it might be one of the signs that your dog’s in pain.
#6 It smells funny
Things like orthopedic dog beds made from memory foam and waterproof fabrics often have a chemical scent to them at first. I’ve noticed it myself and my sense of smell isn’t nearly as strong as my dog’s.
So, try airing out that new bed for 24 hours before you worry that Fido is completely and eternally rejecting it.
#7 It’s too far away from you
If your dog is used to sleeping next to you- either at the foot of your bed or IN your bed with you- then chances are he’s not going to be too keen about moving to his own dog bed.
Try moving it closer to where he usually sleeps. We had great success getting my dog to sleep on her bed by putting it in her favorite spot in the bedroom with us.
FAQS about Dogs Sleeping on the Floor Instead of In Their Beds
Let’s go over a few common questions that I see pop up on this topic. Then, if you’re still concerned, we’ll discuss some tips on getting Fido to try out that comfy new bed that you just bought him. 🙂
Is it okay if my dog sleeps on the floor?
Yes, if your dog isn’t showing any signs of discomfort from sleeping on the floor, then it’s fine.
Does sleeping on the floor hurt dogs?
Sleeping on the floor won’t hurt a healthy dog. However, if your dog has arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other joint conditions it can lead to more aches and pains.
Why does my dog sleep on my side of the bed on the floor?
Your dog sleeps on your side of the bed on the floor because he loves you and wants to be close to you, or because he feels protective of you and wants to make sure you’re safe throughout the night. Take it as a compliment and a sign of your deep bond.
How Do I Get My Dog to Use His New Bed?
As long as you’ve ruled out any potential health issues, it’s really not a big deal if your dog sleeps on the floor. Still, it can be a bit frustrating when you spend oodles of money on the perfect orthopedic dog mattress only to have Fido reject it.
If you’re determined to get him to at least give it a try, follow these tips. (I’m going to assume that you’ve already bought the bed, so I’ll skip the tip about making sure you picked a good one).
- 1. Familiarize Your Dog with the Bed– Place the new bed in a location your dog already enjoys spending time in. If they have a favorite corner of the room, that’s an ideal spot. This helps your dog associate the new bed with positive experiences.
- Use Positive Reinforcement -Reward your dog for showing interest in their new bed. Whenever they approach it, sit on it, or lie down on it, offer treats and praise. This positive reinforcement will create a positive association with the bed.
- Add Familiar Scents– As mentioned above, dogs have a strong sense of smell, and familiar scents can make the new bed more appealing. Place a blanket or pillowcase with your dog’s scent on the bed or use a pheromone spray designed to calm anxious dogs.
- Gradual Transition– If your dog is particularly attached to their old bed, make the transition gradual. Place the new bed next to the old one and let them explore it at their own pace. Once they start using the new bed, you can remove the old one.
- Make It Comfy– Add soft blankets, toys, or their favorite cuddle buddy to the new bed. Making it cozy and inviting can be a game-changer for your pup.
- Keep It Clean– Dogs are more likely to use a clean and fresh bed. Regularly wash the bed covers and keep the bed itself clean and odor-free.
- Be Patient– Remember, change can be challenging for dogs, especially older ones. Be patient and give your pup time to adjust to their new sleeping spot. Avoid forcing them onto the bed, as this can create a negative association.
Incorporating these tips into your dog’s routine should help them warm up to their new bed over time. Remember that every dog is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find the approach that works best for your furry companion. With patience and persistence, your dog will soon be enjoying their new cozy haven.
Dogs don’t care as much as we do about material things like beds. They sleep where they are comfortable and don’t care what others think.
So, don’t worry too much about where your furbaby sleep. Sammy is probably more comfortable on the floor, and he will move to the bed when he feels like it.