Skip to Content

Do dogs like to be touched when sleeping?

Dogs have different preferences when it comes to being touched while sleeping, but most dogs do enjoy gentle petting and find it soothing. However, every dog is an individual with unique likes and dislikes, so it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s body language to understand their preferences.

Do dogs mind being pet while sleeping?

Many dogs enjoy being gently petted and find it comforting while sleeping. The key is to pet them lightly and avoid disturbing their sleep. Dogs that are used to being petted while sleeping may stir briefly when you start petting them, then relax back into sleep. However, some dogs may be startled or annoyed if petted while in deep sleep.

Signs a dog enjoys being petted while sleeping:

  • Leans into your touch
  • Tail wags gently
  • Makes contented noises like sighs or soft grunts
  • Stays relaxed and keeps sleeping
  • Seeks out physical contact from you

Signs a dog dislikes being petted while sleeping:

  • Tenses up or flinches when touched
  • Moves away or turns away from you
  • Opens eyes to look at you
  • Growls or shows other signs of irritation
  • Gets up and walks away

Why do some dogs dislike being touched while sleeping?

Here are some reasons why a dog may not like being touched while sleeping:

  • Startle response – Being touched may abruptly wake them from deep sleep
  • Touch aversion – Some dogs are sensitive or simply don’t enjoy petting
  • Pain or sickness – Dogs may be sore or ill, making touch uncomfortable
  • Lack of trust – Dogs that aren’t completely comfortable with you yet may resist touch
  • Guarding behavior – Dogs that are protective may view touch as intrusive
  • Light sleepers – Some dogs wake up easily and prefer undisturbed sleep

Tips for petting a sleeping dog

  • Start slowly and gently. Lightly rest your hand on their side or back at first.
  • Pet in long, gentle strokes down their back and sides.
  • Avoid touching their legs, paws, head and stomach area.
  • Keep your movements calm and soothing. Don’t vigorously ruffle their fur.
  • Stop petting if they stir, flinch or wake up. Let them go back to sleep.
  • Pay attention to their reactions. If they seem annoyed, leave them be.
  • Respect their space if they prefer not to be touched while sleeping.

Do puppies like to be pet while sleeping?

Puppies tend to sleep very soundly and may enjoy gentle strokes as they sleep. However, each puppy is unique in their preferences. Signs a sleeping puppy enjoys petting include:

  • Rhythmic breathing continues
  • Tail wags slightly
  • Leans into your hand
  • Makes soft puppy grunts or whimpers

If a puppy pulls away, whimpers loudly or startles awake when petted, it’s best to let them sleep undisturbed.


While many dogs enjoy being petted while they sleep, others prefer uninterrupted rest. Pay attention to your individual dog’s body language and reactions to determine their liking for touch when sleeping. Respect their preferences and comfort levels by keeping petting gentle and backing off if they seem disturbed. With some dogs, it’s best to simply let sleeping dogs lie.