Why Does My Dog Try to Suffocate Me?

Many dog owners have experienced their furry friends attempting to suffocate them, either by sitting or sleeping on their faces or by pressing their body against them. Although it can feel overwhelming or even dangerous in some cases, this behavior is relatively common in dogs and has various underlying reasons.

1. Seeking Warmth and Security

Dogs are known for their love of cozy spaces and warm temperatures. When a dog tries to suffocate their owner, it may be because they are seeking comfort and security. The close physical contact provides them with a sense of warmth and safety, similar to how they would snuggle up with their littermates or mother.

This behavior may be more prevalent in certain breeds or individual dogs that have a stronger need for physical closeness. It is important to note that this behavior is not necessarily malicious or meant to cause harm but rather a natural instinct that stems from their evolutionary origins.

2. Bonding and Affection

Dogs are highly social animals that thrive on companionship and affection. By trying to suffocate their owners, dogs may be communicating their desire to create a stronger bond and reinforce the emotional connection they share. This behavior is often seen as a display of trust and love.

Similar to how dogs greet each other by sniffing and licking, trying to suffocate their humans could be seen as an equivalent form of affectionate behavior. By being physically close and engaging in such behavior, dogs may be expressing their love and loyalty.

3. Attention-Seeking

Dogs are intelligent creatures that quickly learn which behaviors elicit a response or attention from their owners. In some cases, a dog might try to suffocate their owner as a way of seeking attention or prompting a reaction.

This behavior can be reinforced unintentionally when the owner responds, whether it’s by pushing the dog away, talking to them, or even scolding them. Any form of attention, even negative, can unintentionally reinforce the behavior and encourage the dog to repeat it in the future.

4. Separation Anxiety

Dogs are highly social animals that form strong attachments to their human companions. When left alone for extended periods or when they fear being separated, dogs may exhibit various behaviors, including trying to suffocate their owners.

This behavior can be a manifestation of separation anxiety, which is characterized by distress and anxiety when separated from the person or people the dog is attached to. By staying close and attempting to suffocate, dogs may be trying to alleviate their fear and anxiety, seeking reassurance and comfort from their owners.

5. Health and Comfort Issues

In some cases, a dog may try to suffocate their owner due to underlying health issues or physical discomfort. For example, dogs experiencing pain, discomfort, or difficulty breathing might seek relief by positioning themselves in certain ways that inadvertently make it difficult for their owners to breathe.

Additionally, certain medical conditions or side effects of medication can affect a dog’s behavior, potentially leading to attempts at suffocating their owners. If this behavior is sudden or accompanied by other concerning signs, such as aggressive behavior or changes in eating habits, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

It’s important to remember that while dogs may try to suffocate their owners, it is rarely an intentional act of harm. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help owners address it in a safe and responsible manner, maintaining a loving and harmonious relationship with their furry companions.