Why Do Dogs Cover Their Eyes?

As a pet owner, you might have observed some peculiar behaviors in your furry companion that leave you wondering about their motivations. One such behavior is when dogs cover their eyes with their paws or hide their faces. While it may seem puzzling at first, there are several reasons behind this action. In this article, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of canine behavior, exploring why dogs cover their eyes, what it signifies, and how to interpret their actions.
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Understanding the Act of Covering Eyes in Dogs

1. Seeking Comfort and Security:

Dogs, like humans, have their moments of vulnerability and seek comfort and security. By covering their eyes or hiding their faces with their paws, dogs may be attempting to create a safe and cozy space for themselves. This behavior could be their way of self-soothing when they’re feeling anxious, stressed, or tired.

2. Light Sensitivity:

Dogs have a different level of sensitivity to light than humans. Covering their eyes might help them shield their eyes from excessive light or brightness. If your dog frequently covers their eyes outdoors or in brightly lit environments, it could be a sign that they’re trying to reduce the glare and protect their eyes.

3. Attention-Seeking Behavior:

Some dogs have mastered the art of attracting attention, and covering their eyes could be one of their tactics. If your dog knows that this behavior gets a reaction from you, they might repeat it to gain your attention or earn treats and affection.

4. Temperature Regulation:

Dogs use various methods to regulate their body temperature. By covering their eyes, they might be trying to create a cooler and shadier spot, especially if they’re lying in a sunny or warm area.

5. Playful Behavior:

In some cases, dogs might use covering their eyes as part of a playtime routine. If your dog covers their eyes while engaging in playful antics, it could be their way of signaling that they’re ready to play or inviting you to join in the fun.

Decoding Your Dog’s Behavior: When and How They Cover Their Eyes

1. During Rest and Relaxation:

Dogs often cover their eyes when they’re resting or napping. This behavior can be a sign that they’re seeking a comfortable and secure spot to relax without being disturbed. If your dog curls up and covers their eyes with their paws, it’s likely that they’re in a state of relaxation.

2. In Bright Light:

If your dog covers their eyes when exposed to bright sunlight or artificial light, they might be trying to reduce glare and make their surroundings more comfortable. Consider providing shaded areas for them to rest.

3. When Feeling Anxious or Overwhelmed:

Dogs can display various behaviors when they’re anxious or overwhelmed. Covering their eyes could be their way of seeking refuge from stressful situations. It’s important to observe their overall body language and context to determine if anxiety is causing this behavior.

4. As a Playful Gesture:

Some dogs incorporate covering their eyes into their playful interactions. If your dog playfully covers their eyes during games or engages in “peek-a-boo” behaviors, they might be signaling that they’re in a playful mood and looking for interaction.

FAQs: Unraveling Common Questions

Q1: Why does my dog cover his eyes with his paws? Dogs may cover their eyes with their paws for various reasons, including seeking comfort, reducing light sensitivity, attracting attention, temperature regulation, or playfulness.

Q2: Is covering eyes a sign of a medical issue? In most cases, covering eyes is not a sign of a medical issue. However, if your dog’s behavior changes dramatically, or if they display other concerning symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian.

Q3: How do I know if my dog is anxious when covering their eyes? Anxious dogs might exhibit other signs like pacing, panting, trembling, or excessive licking. If your dog’s behavior is consistently anxious, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Q4: Should I stop my dog from covering their eyes? If your dog’s behavior doesn’t seem to cause any distress and is part of their normal actions, there’s no need to stop them. However, if you notice unusual or excessive behavior changes, it’s best to seek advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Q5: Can I play along when my dog covers their eyes playfully? Absolutely! Playful behaviors like covering their eyes can be an excellent opportunity for interactive play. Engaging in positive interactions with your dog can strengthen your bond and provide mental stimulation.


The act of dogs covering their eyes with their paws can be influenced by various factors, including seeking comfort, reducing light sensitivity, gaining attention, regulating temperature, or expressing playfulness. While this behavior might seem quirky, it’s important to consider the context and your dog’s overall well-being. Understanding your dog’s unique personality and behaviors can help you create a loving and enriching environment that caters to their needs and preferences.
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