When it comes to dog training, there are many different approaches. There isn’t any one-size-fits all solution that works for managing a dog’s behavior.
You must look at the reason you are doing something to discover whether it will work for you and your pet. Behaviors include sleeping arrangements for people and pets.
Did you know that about half of cat and dog owners report sharing their bed or bedroom with their pets?
If you’ve been wondering “should a dog sleep in your bed,” you’ve lucked out. Today we offer some perspectives as to why and why not a dog should be your bedtime companion.
Why Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bed?
We’ll just spoil this for you now: there are plenty of GREAT reasons to sleep with your dog.
Need we say more? Dogs are COZY.
Dogs are real cuddlers, and dogs make people happy. If you’re one of those people who likes to snuggle in bed and doesn’t mind paws invading your personal space, then we support letting your dog sleep with you.
Sleeping during cold winter months is improved when you’re in a big puppy pile! Your dog provides a ton of warmth. For people who enjoy being warm while they sleep, dogs are perfect companions.
And guess what? This need for warmth is nothing new.
According to the American Kennel Club, “Aboriginal Australians often slept beside their dogs and/or dingoes for warmth and protection from evil spirits. Unfortunately, modern culture tends to focus on the negative aspects of co-sleeping rather than the benefits.” There’s something to be said about our ancient ties to canines.
Most dogs are far more sensitive to noises than people. While you snooze, consider your doggy the night watch. Most (not all) dogs will alert you if they hear anything out of the ordinary. Of course, read on to learn more why that trait may not be desirable for some households.
Why a Dog Should Not Sleep in Your Bed
Now that we’ve made the argument for sleeping with your dog, let’s talk about why someone would want to avoid sleeping with pets.
Could Disturb Your Sleep
According to a study reported by Psychology Today, “A sleep efficiency of 80 percent or more is sufficient. The study found that when sleeping with a dog in the bedroom — but not on the bed — people maintained an 83 percent sleep efficiency, which meets those satisfactory standards.”
Our advice? If you’re a sensitive sleeper, you might want to avoid sleeping with your pup.
If you sleep with your spouse, you want to make sure their sleep isn’t impacted as well. So, avoid arguments by making sure everyone sleeping in the bed is getting satisfactory rest.
Sleep deprivation is serious. Sleep makes you hungrier, more likely to develop certain types of cancer, and can impact your decision-making abilities.
You Have Allergies
Dogs carry dander for sure, but due to all their time outside, they can pick up pollen and other outdoor allergens. When they sleep with you, they carry those allergens straight to your bed! Eek!
If you wake up all stuffy and watery-eyed, then sleeping with your dog may exacerbate your allergy symptoms.
You Will Be Upset if Your Dog Wets the Bed
Accidents come with the territory (no pun intended). When you own a dog, accidents are likely even though they are infrequent. If you have a nice mattress that isn’t easily cleaned (like memory foam), make sure you take proper precautions or just don’t allow your dog to sleep with you.
Your Dog is Prone to Aggressive Behavior
You know what happens to dogs when they are startled? Well, they can get aggressive. If you have a dog prone to aggression, sleeping with them can make them even more territorial.
Let’s say you have children that unpredictably wake you up – that could trigger your dog’s behavior to protect you. Of course, you don’t want any harm to come to your child. Therefore, we suggest crating your dog or confining them to a safe place during sleeping hours.
Also, dogs can struggle with aggressive bed behaviors due to hierarchy issues. This is also called “status-related aggression.” This can manifest as your dog growling at the husband when he joins his wife in bed. This is undesirable, and either you can train them out of this with some research or the help of a dog trainer.
However, well-behaved and socialized dogs should have no issue sleeping with their owners.
Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bed – The Bottom Line
In a study by the National Institutes of Health, 20 percent of people reported that their dog sleeping in their bed was disruptive. However, another 41 percent reported their dog was unobtrusive or beneficial to their sleep. The takeaway from the study? “Health care professionals working with patients with sleep concerns should inquire about the presence of companion animals in the sleep environment to help them find solutions and optimize their sleep.”
Sleeping with your dog can impact your sleep.
As a reminder, here are some reasons to sleep with your dog:
- You seek the safety of your dog’s presence.
- You enjoy the comfort your dog provides while you sleep.
- You like having another warm body near you.
And if you’re on the fence about sleeping with dogs, here might be some reasons why you shouldn’t:
- You’re a light sleeper.
- You have allergies to your dog or other outdoor allergens.
- You are not okay with possible accidents in bed.
- Your dog is prone to aggressive behavior.
Should a dog sleep in your bed? The answer changes from household to household. However, once you choose to let your dog sleep in your bed, there likely isn’t any going back. It’s difficult to teach them to sleep with you only to revert to using the crate. Revoking privileges you’ve given your dog is no easy thing. Therefore, we suggest being very sure about your choice before you start a new bedtime routine.