If you’ve ever stayed in a safari lodge during wild dog season (May to July), you’ll be treated to watching packs hunt, rest and interact with each other. Depending on the environment they inhabit, they are either diurnal or crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn).
Wild dogs and their closest wild relative, wolves, both tend to sleep curled up. This protects their bellies, conserves warmth, and is easy to get out of if they need to run away from a predator or other threat. Some dogs may even sleep with their paws up in the air to cool down and expose the sweat glands on their paw pads.
It’s also common for your pet to circle their bed or even dig a little before lying down to snooze. This is an instinctual behavior inherited from their wolf ancestors who would often trample and scratch at the ground to get a hole in which to lie. It also serves as a way to mark their territory, rubbing the scent from their paws into the soil and marking it with their own.
Domesticated dogs have evolved to view their owners as family, so it’s no surprise that they may sleep pressed up against or close beside them, especially if they are feeling loved and safe. Be on the lookout for a change in your dog’s sleeping habits that indicates they are uncomfortable. If you notice your dog suddenly starts circling their bed more frequently or seems agitated, it could be a sign of heat exhaustion.