Why Is My Dog Sleeping Facing The Wall? (Vet Tech Explains)

Why Is My Dog Sleeping Facing The Wall

Every once in a while our furry friends do something that is downright weird. From butt scooting to toe licking, we can always explain why dogs do the things that they do. But, in many instances, we can make an educated guess as to why our dogs are acting strange.

If you’ve noticed that your dog has started to lie down towards a wall, you probably have some questions.

You might wonder, why is my dog sleeping facing the wall?

When dogs sleep facing a wall but not against the wall it can be caused by a variety of things. Most commonly your dogs hear something in the wall and can’t fully relax when it’s time for bed. Otherwise, your dog might lie this way, because of cognitive dysfunction, vision, loss, deafness, or depression. 

These explanations might sound a little serious but don’t get worried yet. Let’s talk about what all of these things mean, and how they relate to the way that your dog sleeps.

Why Do Dogs Lay Down Facing A Wall?

It’s not always an easy question to answer. With this situation, we can really only speculate about what’s going on in your dog’s brain. The best way to figure out why your dog is laying this way is to observe them.

Make sure to note if your dog only sleeps facing the wall on specific days or times of the day. These small notes might seem insignificant at first but should help give you clues as to what’s going on.

Here are six reasons why dogs might sleep facing a wall.

1. They Hear Something In the Wall

If your dog is sleeping or laying, facing the wall, it’s possible that they hear something inside of it.

Many North American homes are built from wood. While these homes are cost-effective and quickly constructed, they also have somewhat hollow walls. That means that all sorts of critters can nest in the walls of a home they get in. It can be hard to get them out and even harder to determine what the animal is in the first place.

Mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, and even bats are common animals that might take up residence in your walls. These animals often use the insulation that keeps your house, warm as bedding for them and their babies.

If you’ve ever dealt with a situation like this, you know how loud these animals can be. Since many of these animals are nocturnal, they’ll make plenty of noise during the evening.

These loud unpredictable noises might cause your dog to be alarmed throughout the evening.  Oh, they’ll sleep facing the wall so they can keep an eye on everything.

2. The Might Have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Have you heard of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome?

This syndrome is often compared to dementia or Alzheimer’s in humans. When dogs first start showing signs of cognitive dysfunction, it can be little things. As dogs age their behavior naturally changes so it’s hard to tell what’s normal and what’s abnormal.

Cognitive dysfunction symptoms are disorientation and confusion, extreme changes in behavior, anxiety, and changes in sleep habits.

If your dog has started to sleep facing the wall you might want to take a closer look at their behavior. Has anything else changed?  Is it something they do every night? If so, their brain and mental condition might be deteriorating.

The only way to diagnose canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome is to go over your pet’s history with a veterinarian. Hopefully, they’ll be able to tell you whether the obsession with laying facing the wall is related to this or something else entirely.

3. They Might Be Losing Their Vision

Another thing that might cause your dog to sleep, facing the wall is that they’re starting to lose their vision.

Walls are one thing that dogs stick close to you as their vision fades. They can use walls to orient themselves in a room and know where they are without bumping into things.

It’s very common for dogs to lose their vision as they age, just like people do. Luckily, dogs have a variety of other senses to rely on other than vision.   Many old dogs do well without vision and rely on their senses of hearing and smell.

Not only is a wall comforting as dogs are to lose their vision, but they might not even know that they’re sleeping facing the wall. It’s possible that your dog’s vision is so bad that they have no idea that there’s a wall right in front of them.

They may just fall asleep in our bed in the most comfortable position which ends up being facing towards the wall. A good trick to see if this is the case with your dog is to turn their bed around and see if they lay the same way or if they adjust their sleeping position.

4. They Could Be Going Deaf

Hearing is another sense that dogs lose as they age. Many dogs either go deaf, blind, or both in their senior years.

I already know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if your dog is deaf, they’ll want to face the room so that they can see everything that’s going on when they fall asleep.

That’s probably true, but on the other hand, your dog might be able to hear a little bit better when they’re facing toward the wall instead of away from it. This has a lot to do with room acoustics in the way that your dog’s ears face.

If you think we’re lying, there are plenty of ways that homes are modified for people with hearing disabilities. It’s agreed that walls and ceilings echo in ways that help the homeowners to hear better. So, this new sleeping position might be your dog’s way of hearing things better throughout the night.

5. They’re Pressing Their Head Against It

If your dog is not only laying facing the wall but is also putting its head against it, we’ve got a totally different issue going on.

Head pressing in dogs is a serious disorder where dogs compulsively place their heads against the wall and stay there for long periods of time. Head pressing is a real problem, because it usually indicates that there is damage to the nervous system.

There are so many things that could cause neurological damage, and in turn, head pressing. Some of the most common causes are brain injuries or tumors, gland disorders, internal organ disorders, viral, fungal, or protozoal infections, and electrolyte imbalances.

It’s important to understand the difference between a dog facing the wall, and a dog pressing their head against the wall. Unfortunately, if your dog is pressing their head against the wall for long periods of time, you’ll need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

6. They Could Be Depressed

The last thing that might explain why your dog is lying facing the wall is that they are feeling depressed.

Dogs do not typically experience the same sort of clinical depression that humans do. For humans, depression is a mood disorder that can range from mild to debilitating symptoms. In dogs, depression is a feeling of sadness or grief.

Signs and symptoms of depression are one of the ways that you can understand the emotions that your dog is feeling. For example, dog behavior usually changes drastically after the loss of a pet or family member. This is usually an experience of depression or grief that results in behavioral changes.

Signs of depression may be a decrease in appetite, lethargy, clinginess, behavioral changes, and social changes. One change we can see in dogs is that they’ll spend time sitting in corners and staring at walls.

The most prominent examples of this sort of depression are animals and shelters. Some animals that end up in shelters become anxious depressed, and overwhelmed due to the environment or the circumstances that brought them in.

You can see in the video below how the dog has a huge behavioral change from the shelter to its eventual forever home.

If your dog looks like the dog in the video above and sleeps or lays facing the wall, it could be feeling some sadness or depression.

Should You Worry?

Most of the reasons that explain why your dog sleeps facing a wall aren’t great.

If you think your dog is sensing animals in the wall, then you’ll have a problem that’s unrelated to your pet. Probably need to hire a humane pest control company to remove the animals living in your walls.

If your dog is laying facing the wall because of hearing a vision change, that’s not necessarily a need for worry. In old age hearing and vision loss are completely normal for dogs. While you’ll want to keep an eye on changes and prevent them when possible, they’re usually unavoidable.

The same is generally true for canine cognitive dysfunction disorder. You can make a plan to improve your dogs, quality of life with your veterinarian, but there’s no real treatment.

Hopefully, if your pet is experiencing depression and is staring at the wall because of that, you can help make them feel better. Try to engage with them and provide them with physical and mental stimulation. Even though this won’t erase their blues, it will definitely help.

Head pressing on the other hand is definitely a cause for worry. Your dog is not only laying facing the wall, but laying their head against the wall, it has some scary implications. You’ll want to take your pet to the veterinarian and make sure that their nervous system is OK.

It Might Not Be As Bad As You Think

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that your dog may just be staring at the wall for no good reason. They may have decided to sleep facing the wall, one night and facing away from the wall the next night. It’s totally possible that this behavior has no clinical significance whatsoever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since we’ve gone over most of the reasons why your dog sleeps facing the wall, we are going to answer a few more frequently asked questions related to the topic below.

Why Does My Dog Sleep Facing The Corner?

If your dog particularly sleeps, facing or up against the corner, they might be looking for comfort. Walls are safe spaces for dogs and when they’re surrounded by walls, they can truly relax.

It’s the same reason why some dogs cover their faces when they sleep. Corner sleepers might be feeling anxious during the day and are looking for a feeling of comfort in the evening.

Why Do Dogs Face Walls?

The same reasons that dogs face walls when they sleep or lie down are usually the same reasons why they face them in general. Hearing and vision loss, cognitive dysfunction, depression, or a pest can all explain why your furry friend is facing the walls.

Do Dogs Sleep Facing A Certain Direction?

It doesn’t seem like dogs sleep facing a certain direction. However, one important trend to note, is that many dogs sleep with their butt facing their owners. A lot of the time this is because your dog feels a deep level of trust with you. They sleep better knowing that they’re weak side is aimed at you, while their head is closer to the door or the foot of the bed.

Final Thoughts

Are all of the reasons that your dog sleeps facing a wall, most of them aren’t a big concern. Your dog might face a wall as they age because they’re losing their sight, their hearing, or their mental status is starting to deteriorate.

Your dog may also since animals on the wall or me feeling depressed and want to stay in a corner. Your dog is also pressing their head against the wall. You’re dealing with a different behavior entirely called “head pressing.”

Whatever the issue, we hope that this article has helped you figure out what’s going on with your pet and give you some clues as to what to do now.

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