Furtropolis by Outward Hound

Demystifying Our Dogs’ Foot Fetish: Why Do Dogs Lay on Your Feet?

Your dog is your best furry friend, but sometimes these fluffy creatures do things you just don’t understand. For instance, why do dogs hate the mailman? Why do they love to lick your face? And why do dogs lay on your feet?

It’s super cute, but you’d love to get to the bottom of your dog’s behavior. Then, you can determine whether something is amiss or if he’s just being his normal adorable self.

Here are some common reasons why dogs lay on their owners’ feet from just wanting to love on you to resource gaurding.

They Want to Claim Ownership

dog on a walk ni the sun. how hot is too hot for dogs

Even though you technically own your dog, well, your dog owns you, too. He has a pack mentality, which means that you are both a member of the same pack and he is going to work to protect you and his family members.

With this territorial behavior, he is marking his territory when he sits on you and telling other dogs, “This one is mine.” That pack instinct may also cause him to growl at other dogs or even at people if he thinks there is a danger and he’s trying to keep you, the leader of the pack, safe.

They’re Trying to Warm Up

Is your dog sleeping on your feet a lot when it’s cold outside? That’s because he’s trying to stay warm by using the body heat coming from your feet. He is more likely to snuggle you and your feet in the wintertime.

Back in ancient times, Chinese royals would use their Shih Tzu dogs to keep their feet warm, and it seems like this dog behavior still comes out these days.

They Are Feeling Anxious

bring dog to work

If your pooch is stressed out – for instance, he may be experiencing separation anxiety when you’re at work during the day – then he might lay on top of your feet. If there are small children, other dogs, or a lot of people in your home, or there are fireworks or other loud noises outside, he could lay on top of your feet to comfort himself.

He could also show signs of bad behavior and aggression like barking, growling, and biting when he is upset, which is why it’s important for dog owners to reassure him when he’s experiencing any kind of anxiety.

They Love You

why do dogs lay on your feet

Your dog loves you – that’s obvious. Sometimes he wants to show it by plopping down and cuddling on top of your feet, which is a very comfortable spot for him.

Embrace your dog’s behavior and cuddle him to show your affection as well. Along with snuggling your feet, your dog might jump up on your lap, lick you, and nuzzle you. Any time your dog wants physical contact, it could be because he’s craving your attention and love.

Now you know some of the possible reasons why your dog is laying on top of your feet. He could be doing this mainly when he’s sleeping in bed with you. It’s important to learn whether or not it’s healthy if your dog sleeps with you, too.

Should Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?

dog in a bed

When your dog is sleeping in the same bed as you, it’s just so nice. You can snuggle all night, keep each other warm (just like pack animals do), and wake up in the morning to that delightful little face. But is it really a good idea to sleep with your dog, even if he’s just in a sleeping position on top of your feet?

It all depends on you and your dog. For instance, if you have a large dog, he may take up so much space in your bed that it disrupts your sleep. Your dog may also move around a lot in the night, fart in the bed, and bark and run in his slumber, which could also lead to disrupted sleep.

Additionally, your dog could have health issues that would make sleeping in bed with your difficult. If he has arthritis, it could be difficult for him to climb into your bed – though you can always pick him up and put him in there, especially if he’s a small dog breed like a Chihuahua.

You could also place doggy steps or a ramp next to your bed. If your dog accidentally goes to the bathroom in the night, you could place pee pads on the bed … or just let him sleep in his own bed or crate.

Sleeping with your dog in your bed might not be good for your health if you have allergies or your dog has fleas. What if your dog has ticks or intestinal parasites as well? You’re more likely to become sick if you sleep with your dog. To combat this, you can make sure you give him flea medicine and regular flea baths, as well as take him to the veterinarian if he seems sick.

Sleepytime behavior issues

If your dog has aggression issues or gets frightened easily, that could cause issues in the night. For example, if you accidentally kick him in your sleep or roll onto him, he could growl at you or even bite you.

With some training and positive reinforcement, you may be able to treat this aggressive reaction, but he can’t really help it if he becomes startled in his sleep. He is just trying to defend himself and may not even know what he’s doing.

The bottom line is that you can always try to sleep with your dog in your bed, but if there are health problems going on or he is exhibiting bad behavior, then it’s time to put him in a calming dog bed or crate for the night. The plus side? You’ll both sleep a lot better.

And don’t worry, because you can always cuddle in front of the TV or have him lay on top of your feet while you’re working at your desk.

Dogs and Your Feet

dog playing in bed with human

It always feels good to cuddle with your pup. But if you notice that he’s exhibiting signs of anxiety or possessiveness when he’s laying on top of your feet, it’s time to ask the vet or veterinary behaviorist what to do. Then, you can ensure he is as happy and healthy as possible and you maintain your wonderful doggy-human relationship.