Should I Let My Dog Sleep with Me?

 

First They Steal Your Heart, Then They Steal Your Bed....

Should We Let Dogs Sleep With Us in Our Bed

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Studies have shown that about 60% of dog owners let their pet sleep in the bed with them. Although many pet owners seem to enjoy the comforts of having their canine snuggled up with them while they sleep, practitioners seem to be against the idea.

Deciding whether or not you want to allow your dog to sleep with you can feel like a big decision. Besides, dogs are creatures of habit, so once you make your decision and they adapt to sleeping in a certain place they won’t want to have to experience a sudden change.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to letting your dog sleep in your bed. Let’s weigh out the options.

 

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Photo by Ruby Schmank on Unsplash

Let sleeping dogs lie… in your bed

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Dog owners who let their pets into bed with them each night will claim countless benefits. One of the most common reasons people enjoy having their pet in the bed with them is their warm presence. A dog’s body temperature is about five degrees higher than our own, meaning they’re great at warming up the bed on a cold night.

A dog’s presence in the bed can also help sleepers feel more safe. Many people experience a vulnerable feeling while lying in bed in the dark. Having the presence of your canine companion beside you can help you feel more protected.

Feeling a greater sense of security and safety contributes to the ease of falling asleep at night. If you have your dog in the bed with you, you’ll feel more safe. When you feel more safe, you’ll have an easier time relaxing and falling asleep. Dogs can also help up relax through the comfort of hearing their rhythmic breathing. Not to mention, being near a dog increases our flow of oxytocin, the happiness hormone, meaning you’re already on your way to sweet dreams.

Letting your dog in your bed won’t only be beneficial to you. Your pet will be happier being in closer proximity to you for the eight or so hours you sleep each night, especially if you spend just as many hours gone during the day at work. This time can be crucial in helping you and your dog bond, even if it’s subconsciously through snuggles.

 

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 Photo by Jessica Knowlden on Unsplash

 

Sleeping in the dog house

The main reason medical professionals are against your dog hopping into bed with you is the risk that your quality sleep will be disturbed. A good night’s sleep is something to take very seriously when it comes to your health. If your fur friend has a chance of disturbing you in the night, it may not be worth the risk.

Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, so it’s pretty likely that they will wake up in the night and cause you disruptions. In case you don’t know, polyphasic sleeping means that dogs have several sleep/wake cycles throughout the day, so it’s likely they won’t stay asleep through eight hours of the night.

Humans on the other hand are monophasic sleepers. This means we experience one period of sleep over a 24-hour cycle. While you’re trying to soak up all the ZZZs you can in this one period, your dog may be waking up and moving around. Dogs also naturally stay alert for sounds, making them generally lighter sleepers than humans.

Another reason people are against letting their dogs in their bed is due to health concerns, particularly allergies. Even if you aren’t allergic to dog, you should know that all dogs carry allergens. Each time your dog goes outside, they are exposed to many allergens like pollen and dust. These allergens hide in your dog’s fur and follow you to bed. You can find yourself waking up with a stuffy nose and sneezing fits, or, even worse, they may plague you during the night disrupting your sleep. There’s also the risk of transmission of disease between you and your dog. It’s not likely, but it’s still a risk.

Once you decide to let your dog enjoy the luxuries on sleeping on your comfortable bed, they will have troubles adjusting to the floor or a crate if you suddenly change your mind on letting them be your sleeping partner. Be prepared for many sleepless nights if you make this mistake. Your dog will be whining and crying for the comforts of your bed and cuddles.

 

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Making the decision

When it comes to determining whether or not your dog should be allowed to hop up into bed with you, there are a lot of things to consider and risks to assess. First and foremost, you need to think about what’s best for you and your pet.

If your pet is frequently waking up in the night and disturbing you, you may want to consider transitioning your dog to a place on the floor in your bedroom. Before you decide to remove your dog from your bedroom entirely, try letting them sleep on the floor so they can still be close to you and not grow anxious over a big change.

You may start by letting your dog sleep with you when they’re a puppy, but you should make sure to consider the size they will be when they are full-grown. If you have a Great Dane, letting them sleep with you when they’re a puppy may not seem like a big deal, but eventually it could become a huge problem.

Remember that you don’t want to put your dog through too many stressful changes. If you think you’ll have trouble sharing the bed with your fully-grown dog, avoid letting them share your bed as a puppy. If you are planning on letting your dog sleep with you, take time to consider the best bed for you that makes sense. Size will be a big issue to decide on, but there are also a lot of other factors to take into account before selecting the bed for you and your pup’s comfort and best night’s sleep.

You should also consider any other potential bed partners. You may be a single sleeper for now, but what happens if you find a romantic partner who wants to sleep with you as well. If your dog is accustomed to sleeping with you, but your new partner doesn’t want to sleep with a dog in the bed, what will you do? Always put your best fur friend first obviously, but be aware that this could cause complications down the line.

There may also be issues if you decide to get more dogs later on. If you get another dog, will that dog sleep with you too? Will there be room for all of these sleepers? Will this cause aggression/dominance issues between your dogs if one has the privilege to sleep in the bed and the other does not?

Don’t stress too heavily about the unknown future, but be aware that there are questions you should take into account if you choose to let your dog share your bed.

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Tips for co-sleeping with your pet

Ultimately, the decision is up to you whether or not your dog will be joining you in your slumbers. If cuddling up with your pup is right for you, here are some tips for how you can make the experience as pleasant as possible.

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1.  Establish your pack relationship

You must make sure that you dog understands who is alpha if you are letting them sleep in your bed. Your dog could easily mistake this as a leveling of you two, leading to later disciplining issues down the road. Make sure your dog knows that sleeping with you is a privilege, not a right. Establish this relationship early on to avoid confusion and conflict.

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2.  Stay in control

When you say “off” your dog should be hopping off the bed without refusal. While humans have a tendency to struggle getting out of bed in the mornings, this should be unacceptable for your dog. If your dog stops listening to commands to get off the bed, take away the privilege from them so they understand the consequences.

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 3.  Get cozy

If you’re going to have your dog in the bed, you’re going to want to be comfortable. With the extra body heat in the bed, you may have to turn the air down a bit or turn on the fan to circulate some cool air. Hearing your dog’s breathing, sniffing, licking, or tail wagging may also cause a disruption in the night. Combat this with a white noise machine to mask out disruptive noises and lull you to sleep.

Whatever decision you make, make sure that you’re well-informed and that you’re making the best decision for yourself and your dog. We don’t want to be biased, but we will say that the mental and emotional advantages to having your pup share your bed seem to be good enough to outweigh the disadvantages. It’s man’s best friend after all.

 

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Author’s bio:

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer from Durham, NC.

When she isn’t busy writing, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her two pups Cooper and Benny.

 

 

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