Should I let my dog sleep in my bed?
Few topics seem to divide dog lovers as much as the question over whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed with you. Some people are adamantly for it, some equally against it, and there’s no common ground in between. Maybe you’re still on the fence about it and want to find out more, or maybe you feel strongly one way or the other and simply want some reasons to back up your position. Read on for the pros and cons of letting your dog sleep in your bed with you.
7 Reasons to let your dog sleep in your bed
1. Provide a feeling of safety.
Sleeping with the dog close by during the night makes many people feel safer, even if the dog has no training and isn’t a naturally protective breed. There’s a feeling of security knowing you’re not alone in the middle of the night if you hear a strange noise outside your window. That feeling can go both ways, too; your dog may feel safer sleeping next to you than on their own.
2. Reduce stress
Sleeping close by your dog releases oxytocin, “the love hormone,” which not only strengthens the bond between you and your dog but also helps lower stress by controlling cortisol, “the stress hormone,” in your body.
3. Can help ease nightmares
Dogs have been shown to help mitigate nightmares in veterans with PTSD. In one study of PTSD sufferers, dogs were trained to gently wake their owners up from a nightmare and provide comfort. Children who suffer from frequent nightmares may also benefit from sleeping next to their family pet, by learning how to incorporate their dog into their nightmares and make them less distressing.
4. Can help with sleep-related health issues
Similarly, dogs can help people deal with specific sleep-related disorders. For example, dogs can be trained to nudge or paw their owner with sleep apnea when their CPAP mask falls off during the night. One dog was even trained to help their owner, who suffered from a severe case of sleepwalking, by preventing her from leaving the bedroom in the middle of a sleepwalking episode and potentially injuring herself.
5. Warm on a cold winter night
There’s nothing like snuggling up next to your dog when it’s cold out!
6. Improved sleep quality
Some people report they sleep better when they sleep with their dog in the bed. That could be due in part to a combination of reasons already mentioned, like feeling more secure and less stressed. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to argue with a better night’s sleep.
7. Your dog likes it!
The human-dog bond is strong, and if you and your pooch get along, then they’ll enjoy sleeping close to you at night. Safety, comfort, warmth, togetherness – they enjoy it all just as much as you do.
7 Reasons NOT to let your dog sleep in your bed
1. Reduced sleep quality
Huh? Isn’t #6 on the reasons to let your dog sleep in your bed improved sleep quality? Yes it is! But this comes down to the individual. Some people experience better, deeper, uninterrupted sleep when they sleep next to their dog. Others don’t. Dogs have much shorter sleep cycles than humans and often get up and change position during the night, which can be very disturbing. Or maybe your dog’s breath is stinky, they twitch too much while they dream, or they hog the bed. For lots of reasons, a dog in the bed can equal a bad night’s sleep.
2. Dogs are dirty
Sorry, but we all know it’s true. By bringing your dog into your bed, you’re also potentially bringing in filthy paws, fleas, ticks, bacteria, parasites, and who knows what else! In 2014, four people in Colorado contracted the pneumonic plague, aka the Black Death, from a dog. Will this happen to you in your sleep? Probably not. But, it is a (very remote) possibility.
3. Accidents happen
If your dog suffers from incontinence, whether from a medical condition or simple old age, then there’s a decent chance they’ll pee on your bed at some point. A waterproof mattress cover can help with this, but if you don’t want to take any chances, then ban the dog from the bed.
If you live with a dog, dander is a fact of life. But by sleeping with your dog in your bed, you’re guaranteeing dander in your sheets and blankets, which can exacerbate allergies.
5. Safety concerns
If your dog is very small, sleeping in your bed with you could pose a danger to them, as they could roll or fall off the bed and injure themselves. The higher your bed is off the ground, and the smaller your dog, the more of a concern this is.
6. Signs of aggression
If your dog is sleeping in your bed and starting to show signs of aggression, like growling or snapping at anyone who gets near the bed or wants to get in, this is a problem. Your dog thinks they own the bed and they can become territorial over it. If it’s bad, you may want to work with a dog trainer on un-learning this bad behavior. Your dog should sleep elsewhere.
7. Your partner says NO
If you’re not the only one calling the shots, then it’s not entirely up to you whether to let your dog sleep in your bed. If your significant other says “no way,” then find another sleeping arrangement for your dog at night.
Deciding whether to let your dog sleep in your bed
Ultimately, this is a personal decision, and it may come down to whether you want to sleep next to your dog at night or not. Either way, you have good reasons to back up your choice. Whether you end up sharing your bed at night or not, it’s always a good idea to give your dog a space of their own by giving them their own dog bed or crate they can spend time in.
Kia is a full-sized dog living with a full-sized family! She's full of energy and loves to romp with kids, so whenever Kia is around, you know you're in for an exciting time!