Category Archives: Dogs

A look at dog sleeping positions

How can that be comfortable?

A day rarely goes by that social media friends doesn’t post pictures of their dogs sprawled in some contorted sleeping positions, across some unlikely piece of furniture, asking “how can this be comfortable?”

It probably helps that almost every single one of the people we follow are dog people. But it also brings up the question – how are dogs supposed to sleep?

Sleeping positions

In our research, experts varied between five and 10 described sleeping positions dogs prefer. We’re going to go with five – others are variations on a theme.

One they all talk about, and give the same name to, is the “super hero” position. This is when your dog is flat on its stomach, front paws stretched out in front and back legs stretched out behind. The experts say this is mostly for cooling – fur on a dogs’ stomach is thinner and the dog can cool off faster by getting in contact with a cool floor. 

They also say that it’s mostly a position that puppies use. And speculate that it’s the best for “leaping into action” when they wake up after their nap. Considering all dogs sleep from 10 to 14 hours a day, and puppies even more, we say they should be well-rested enough to “leap” any old time. 

We actually see this one a lot from Torque, Hope’s French Bulldog, especially in the summer. He’ll even head into a bathroom with nice, cool tile floors for a nap if he’s hot. Smart creatures, dogs!

All curled up

The curled up sleep position is one seen most often in wild canids (wolves, foxes, coyotes, etc.) And, sadly, also in animals held in shelters. This position signifies that the dog is trying to stay warm, while at the same time protecting its vital organs. 

Picture of a yellow Labrador Retriever in a curled up sleeping position

We don’t think you can actually read all that much into it. Especially if your dog likes lying in circular, or oval dog beds. It’s not necessarily a sign that your dog is insecure – it just means that they like snuggling, even all by themselves.

Since some of our dogs (French Bulldogs) are physically incapable of achieving this position, it’s not one we see much of. Booker (Fran’s 7-year-old Boston Terrier) will use it occasionally, especially after he digs his way under the throw-blanket on the couch.

Crazy legs

This is the all-sprawled-out, on their back, legs-in-the air sleeping position that our social media friends post most often. Their dogs are draped over the sides of couches, benches, people, even tables and exercise equipment. These are dogs that really know how to get comfy and relax with abandon. 

We don’t see this one very often – Simon (Fran’s 1-year old Boston) is the only one who ever sleeps on his back. According to the experts, using this position indicates that the dog is relaxed, confident, and secure. Which describes Simon pretty accurately. 

If your dog sleeps “crazy legs” we’d love to see any pictures you have – we think it’s adorable. 

Side sleeper

Side sleepers are also characterized by their confidence. It’s another position that leaves the dog’s vital parts exposed. All of our dogs use this and the next position the most:

Cuddle bug

Whether with you or another pet, the cuddle bug has to be in touch. It really is a way of telling us they love us, they want to be with us, and they’re happy and confident. It’s also the one that makes us say “awwww” the most.  One of the most comforting feelings in the world is having your dog lying back to back with you.

What’s your dog’s favorite?

We’ve seen some unique and hysterical pictures of dogs sleeping, but inquiring minds want to know! Which position does your dog favor? 

Coming Soon
What's your dog's favorite sleep position?
What's your dog's favorite sleep position?
What's your dog's favorite sleep position?

Odd little stuff you didn’t know about dogs’ teeth

February is “National Pet Dental Health Month.” So go brush your dog’s teeth. Nuff said.

Okay, we’re lying. We have lots more to say about dogs’ teeth – but just because we came across some really weird stuff that turned out to be interesting. If you need help getting your dog to let you brush his teeth, we’ve written about it before – here. If your dog has stinky breath, brush her teeth and stop feeding her fish-based food. That last bit is the voice of experience. Torque is much more welcome to cuddle since we switched his food!

Lots and lots of them

A bulldog, running with its mouth open and the dogs teeth showing

First amazing dogs’ teeth fact: they have way more than we do! Adult dogs have 42 teeth. Adult people have 32 – including wisdom teeth. And those dog teeth are classic carnivore – the fronts are for tearing (which is why it hurts so much when they grab your hand instead of the toy) and the side/back ones are for gripping and gnawing. There is no such thing as an indestructible toy!

That huge one on the side is the “carnassial tooth. Its special shape and tooth surface is designed to help shear, crush and hold. This is why you see dogs grasp chew toys with the side of their mouth, chomping feverishly. This is also why you have to replace so many chew toys.” according to Pet Health Network.

Baby teeth

Apparently there’s a myth that gets passed around that dogs’ teeth are replaced when they lose them. Like sharks! But it’s not so! 

Dogs do have “puppy” or “milk” teeth, which they start losing at about 14 to 16 weeks. The dogs’ permanent teeth come in over the course of a couple of months. But that’s all they get. If a dog loses an adult tooth, they’re out of luck. Just like us. 

And, contrary to another myth, you can’t tell a dog’s age by his teeth. You can tell whether the dog’s adult teeth have come in. You may also be able to approximate age, based on how worn the teeth are, but a heavy chewer may have worn down their teeth at a young age. While an older dog who doesn’t love chew toys may not show much wear.

Other oddities

Dogs don’t usually get cavities. They have a different mouth chemistry and bacteria, which apparently makes them relatively immune from decay. 

The bite strength of a dog is almost twice that of a person. Humans average bite force is around 162 pounds per square inch. Dogs average bite force? 269 pounds per square inch. Unless you encounter a Rottweiler, which holds the record at 328 pounds per square inch. Luckily, the Rotties we know are sweethearts!

Size makes a difference

Small dogs are prone to different dental problems than big dogs. 

Big dogs are more likely to fracture teeth, which can lead to infection and tooth loss.

Small dogs are more prone to building up plaque, and are more likely to lose teeth because of gum disease. Toy dogs, in particular, may be born with imperfect dentition. We have personal experience with this – our Brussels Griffon Tango only has about a dozen teeth. But he still has all the ones he came with. Because we brush them. Go brush your dog’s teeth

Saddest email ever

We got the saddest email from a customer today.

“Please cancel my harness order. I had to put my dog down. I am devastated.”

Oh, my. It’s the worst day of any dog owner’s life. And in the midst of her grief, she thought about her harness order. 

It may seem strange to think of a thing like that at the time, but it makes total sense to us. When you can’t cope with the awfulness that’s just overtaken your life, you concentrate on the little, peripheral things. Because you can’t focus on the huge, gaping hole in your life. The enormity can’t be grasped.

Been there. Cried over that.

Most dog people have had at least a few “worst” days. They don’t get better, or easier, or less painful no matter how many of them there are. It doesn’t matter if your dog was old, or sick, or young and seemingly in good shape. It’s unmitigated pain and your life will never be the same again. 

Picture of sadness - heart behind broken glass

For many people, who live in a wider world than the dog community, it’s magnified by the non-dog people who say awful things like “at least it wasn’t a person,” or “it’s just a dog.” But psychiatrists agree, mourning is normal.

We know that he wasn’t “just” anything. Your dog is your closest companion. No one else is allowed in the bathroom with you.. Your crappiest day gets better when you open the door and your dog is there. He’s never too busy or distracted to give you a joyful welcome. You’re always the best thing that happened to him today. Every single day.

Forever different

Even if you have other dogs, life is forever different. His particular bark, footstep, mannerisms won’t ever happen again. That particular dog was unique and he was loved. 

Because we love being part of our customers’ lives, we hear dog stories all the time. And we’ve heard the pain in people’s voices when they say they’ll never have another dog. Losing them is just too painful. 

We disagree. It may not be time yet, but there should be another dog. Because the pain of losing that friend can’t be more than the joy of the time you spent together. The smiles and companionship, the laughter and love, have to be the legacy every cherished dog leaves behind.

Sadly, we empathize

When we got that email, we cried. We’d never met the dog. Only corresponded with the owner via email. We know almost nothing about this person’s life. We don’t need to. She’s a person who loved her dog and she was in pain. 

These days we need to remember the things we have in common. One of the strongest is our love for dogs. The sub-culture of dog people that we belong to doesn’t have a test for membership. If you love your dog, you’re welcome here. Dogs make our lives better. 

We’re reaching out to hug our customer who sent the saddest email. We’re so very sorry. We hope it won’t be too long before you can smile when you think of your beautiful boy.

Go ahead! Sleep with your dog!

Should you sleep with your dog? What are the benefits? Are there problems or issues you should know?

Personally, we do sleep with our dogs. Not only in our room, but in the bed. And, depending on the dog and his personal preference, under the covers. And we’re not sorry.

Research is with us

Sleeping with your dog is actually good for our health. The benefits of sleeping with your dog include lower blood pressure, reduced insomnia, increased calmness, security, warmth, and even less depression. In all the research we did preparing for this post, we only found one article, written by an admitted germaphobe, that listed some reasons not to. And this person actually cited bubonic plague, spread by fleas, as a reason not to allow his dog in bed. 

The simple answer would be to make sure your dog doesn’t have fleas! 

Calming all around

It only takes a few minutes of petting a dog to lower blood pressure. We’ve all noticed the sense of calm we get when our dogs are next to us and we, even unconsciously, reach for them and start stroking their fur. Our dogs also seem to know when we need special comfort. How many times has your best caretaker been the dog who won’t leave your side when you’re not feeling good?

French Bulldog Teddy sleeping
Hope’s dog Teddy preferred sleeping under the covers

Research has also shown that women, in particular, find it more soothing to sleep with their dogs than with their human partners. We have a theory that women are too considerate of their human family and will sacrifice their own space, comfort, and even leg room, to accommodate their partners. With their dogs, women in our theory are more likely to claim their fair share. We love having that warm puppy snuggled up against us – but we make them stick to their own share of the night real estate!

Safe and sound

A few years ago Hope went to an out-of-town agility trial and shared a hotel room with a friend. It turned out the friend snores like a band saw. The one night Hope and her dog managed to fall asleep before her friend, her friend complained the next morning about Hope’s dog’s snoring! Too funny! 

And it’s true that some of our dogs have snored. And we’re not alone in finding the sound soothing – just part of the regular routine. The “white noise” of a normal, cozy night. 

We think part of being able to relax is knowing you’re secure. Since dog’s senses, especially hearing, are so much better than ours, we can rely on our dogs to let us know if something isn’t right. So many news stories feature heroic dogs who woke their families when there were house fires. Not that we’re throwing out our smoke alarms – but dogs are an extra layer of security.

Upshot? Go ahead! Sleep with your dog

Nowadays dogs are considered part of the family. And we know that both our dogs and we do better when we’re together. Our first dog was relegated to sleeping in the kitchen. Fortunately, those days are gone. However, our dogs aren’t getting their own rooms. You have to draw the line somewhere!