Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails in Their Sleep?

We all love a happy dog that showers you with love and wags their tail. It can be a sign of love and excitement when your pup is at your feet and you can see their fluffy tail wagging from side to side. But, have you ever noticed your dog’s tail wagging in their sleep? There could be a reason for it. Continue reading our helpful guide to get to the bottom of why their tail might be wagging during a nap.

Is tail wagging just a happy expression?

When dogs wag their tails we automatically assume that it means they’re happy. But there are actually more reasons for tail wagging than you may think.

Dogs wag their tails to convey a range of emotions, including happiness and excitement, nervousness, anxiousness, fear, and submission. You can generally tell by a dog’s overall behaviour what mood they’re in, especially if they’re your little dog baby, but their tails can also tell a story.

The same applies to tail wagging during their sleep.

Tail wagging during sleep

Tail wagging while they’re sleeping is a way of telling a dog’s emotions during their rest. Just like when they’re awake, when their tail is wagging it’s a sign of their mental state. Here is a list of possible emotions they could be feeling and why their tail could be wagging during their sleep:

  • Happy

  • Content

  • Excited

  • Confident

  • Scared

  • Cold



When a dog is happy in their sleep they’ll generally wag their tail. They could be having happy dreams like catching a frisbee, imagining going for a walk, or even thinking of you! As well as wagging their tail, they can also display other movements throughout their REM cycle like short barks and yaps, twitches in their legs and ears, and even sleepwalking.


When your pup is content they could also be wagging their tail. Contentment is slightly different to happiness but they’re definitely not sad; they’re relaxed and carefree. During a content sleep, your pup will be quiet and relaxed, and their tail will be high in the air while wagging.


Excitement is another emotion your pup can experience during their sleep, which can lead to quite excessive tail wagging. Your pup may also start loudly yapping or barking during their dreams and even get up and walk about! Quite often, with excitement, your dog will even look like they’re smiling - how cute!


Confidence is another emotion that your pup can display during their sleep with more tail tagging involved! For example, if they’re dreaming about catching a ball, they can start wagging their tail because of how proud they are of themselves.


Unfortunately, our pups aren’t always happy and excited and can sometimes be scared. They could be having a bad dream, so may actually start whining and crying with heavy breathing. Tail wagging is also associated with fear, so you could see that happen too.


If your dog is wagging their tail, they could actually be cold - poor pup! They’ll wag their tail as well as shiver and shake, breath heavily and their teeth may even chatter. In this case, your pup will benefit from a dog blanket to keep them cosy and warm.


Anxiety in dogs

If your pup is in an unfamiliar place, such as a different family member’s house, they may actually be quite nervous and anxious. This can be displayed in their tail wagging while sleeping. As well as tail wagging, they may also display excessive barking and potentially even have an accident. This can also happen if you’ve recently moved house and they’re not totally comfortable with their new surroundings.

Sadly, a dog that may have been abused earlier in their life can also display a lot of anxious tail wagging. But as the pawfect dog parent you are, you can help comfort them!

Sleep gifts at Yappy

To help your pup feel comfortable and happy during nap times and bedtimes, get them a super comfortable dog bed from Yappy! Enhance their comfort with a paw-fect dog blanket to keep them cuddled up at night. You could also throw it on the couch so they can sleep right next to you during your movie night. 

Cushions can also provide more comfort and a pleasing aesthetic feel to your home. And, if they’re ever staying out for a sleepover somewhere else or you’re heading away for the weekend together, pick up an overnight bag to carry all of their essentials.

If you’d like to know more about what Yappy offers, don’t hesitate to contact us on help@yappy.com.

Share this article


Pup Influencers: Meet Our Woofly Brand Ambassadors!


Why Does My Dog Bark at His Water Bowl?