For many of us who own dogs, our pup can very quickly become more than just a pet – they become a vital part of the family. When you start to enjoy the company of your dog more than you like most people, you may begin to wonder what is so bad about having them sleep in your bed with you. After all, your pet’s individual personality will often trick you into thinking they’re a human anyway.
The conversation of co-sleeping with pets is often a debated topic, with many people having strong opinions on one side or the other. Each argument has many points to consider, which makes the decision highly personal and ultimately depends on the way the household runs. For example, if you have one who cries all night, sometimes the most straightforward answer is to let them sleep with you so that you can actually get some rest at night.
According to the AKC (American Kennel Club), studies have been done to show the overall benefit of having pets in general, as well as allowing them to sleep in the bed with you. The practice has been done in many traditional cultures for years. In the US, around 50% of households report that their dog sleeps in the bedroom with them or in the bed itself.
Even Cesar Millan, known for being a famous dog whisperer, admits to letting his dog sleep in the bed if he wants to be there. This confession leads us to believe that if it’s good enough for Cesar, it’s good enough for us.
If you find yourself wondering if your future or current pooch should be allowed to sleep with you, here are some points to think about when determining why you should let your dog sleep in your bed.
Why You Should Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?
1. It Can Help Them Recover From Their Separation Anxiety From the Day
It is well-known that many breeds of dog suffer from some amount of separation anxiety, such as any crossbreed with an “-oodle” in the name. By nature, dogs are a pack animal species. For the most part, they don’t enjoy being alone, and if they view you as their alpha, they’ll want to be around you as much as possible. Their attachment can even extend into when they’re sleeping. If you have a career or lifestyle that causes you to be away from home for long hours throughout the day, your loveable little one is bound to miss you more than you know. By letting them sleep in the bed with you, you can help comfort them and relieve some of the stress they feel when you’re away. It helps to reassure them that they are still part of the pack and gives you both time to catch up on the time you missed while you were gone. If you want to lessen their separation anxiety while you aren’t home I highly recommend picking up a Vet Recommended Anxiety Jacket (link to Amazon), which helped to calm down my dog immensely when I’m not there. Less of my stuff around the house gets destroyed as well due to managing his anxiety. I also use a hemp calming treat that works great as well. Here is the link to Amazon to check it out – FurroLandia Hemp Calming Treats.
2. It’s Good For Your Personal Security and Comfort
One of the greatest things about having dogs as pets is that they are natural protectors. They love you and will do everything they can to ensure your safety. Having this protection can be a bit of a relief when it comes to feeling safe at night. Because a dog’s hearing is so superior to ours, you can rely on them to alert you when something is amiss. It can be especially beneficial if you train your pup to wake you when they hear crying children, an intruder, or anything else that shouldn’t be happening while you’re asleep. Even if you only allow your dog to sleep in your room, you can rest a little easier knowing you have a real-life alarm system who is always on the job.
3. It is Better for the Dog’s Safety
Because we start to think of our dogs as our own children, it is common to worry about them when they aren’t near us. For pet owners who choose to have their dogs sleep outside, they may have the added worry of attacks on their fur child by people or wild animals. Additionally, they have the possibility of their pet becoming sick or injured, or worse – being stolen without their knowledge. If they are in your bed or in the room with you, you will not have to worry that something could be happening to them without you knowing about it until it’s too late.
4. To Provide A Little Bit of Body Heat
Wintertime is your dog’s time to shine. If your body temperature tends to run a little colder than others, your pet can serve as a personal, portable mini heater. Whether they are sleeping at the foot of your bed to warm your cold feet or serving as a cuddle buddy, Fido is sure to be the heating system you need, without the high utility bill each month. The best part is, if you get to be too warm – they usually won’t take offense if you need to readjust your sleeping position or move them out of the way. They will also keep your spot warm if you tend to make midnight water trips to the kitchen during the night.
5. To Help With Your Anxiety
The main reason why dogs make such useful emotional support animals is that they have a fantastic ability to help calm and relax us. Yes, they also have an uncanny ability to make us want to pull our hair out, but once you see the little angel while they’re sleeping, you can’t help but love them even more. The physical touch and rhythmic breathing of your pet can have the soothing effects that you need to help minimize your stress and anxiety. While this is also true during the day when you’re awake, your brain is still working while you are asleep and having them there with you promotes your calmness subconsciously.
6. To Combat Feelings of Loneliness
For those who live or sleep alone, nighttime can often be one of the loneliest times. Perhaps you don’t even want another human in your space, but you simply want a little bit of companionship. Having a tiny being lying next to you when you fall asleep, who is there when you wake throughout the night, and who wakes up with you in the morning helps us feel a little less alone. Despite the fact that they can’t talk back. And unless they are wild sleepers, they don’t take up too much space in the bed, unlike a full-sized adult.
7. To Help You Wake Up in the Morning
Remember that one time that your cell phone died, or the power went out in the middle of the night, so your alarm clock didn’t go off the next morning? Allowing your dog to sleep with you will ensure that that never happens again. Pets who have their own access to backyards or somewhere where they can go to the toilet without needing to disturb you are more likely to let you sleep in a bit longer. However, if your pup is in your bed, you will be forced to get up to let them outside to do their business. And while you’re up, you may as well get started with your day!
8. You Get to Wake Up to a Face That Loves You
Speaking of helping you wake up, co-sleeping is excellent for those of us who are not morning people. Waking up to the adorable face of your fur baby will make opening your eyes much more pleasant each day, no matter how early it is. Dogs don’t typically wake up in grumpy moods, and their playful cheeriness can be infectious. The only downside to waking up to that adorable face? They may give you even more reason to hit the snooze button and get a few more cuddles in! Also, imagine you wake in the middle of the night from a nightmare or feelings of unease. Having your peaceful pup there to comfort you will help you doze back off in no time.
9. It Can Help to Strengthen the Connection Between You and Your Dog
When you think about it, sleeping is a very personal experience. Even if you sleep next to someone, it’s a pretty individual activity. By inviting a person, or your pet, to sleep next to you, there is a certain amount of trust and comfort that you must have with them. Dogs are very much the same when they are asleep. When your fur friend sleeps next to you, it is their way of showing you that they trust you to protect and not harm them. When you both are sleeping, you are allowing yourselves to be vulnerable with each other. This, in turn, builds a bond that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to form with a pet lizard.
10. It Can Help With Your Insomnia
Similar to being able to help keep you calm and minimize your anxiety, sleeping with your dog can also help combat acute insomnia. The explanation for this is due to a combination of the above pros to sleeping with your pet. When you feel safe, warm, and relaxed, you are much more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Having your pup in your bed will help to eliminate some of the causes that contribute to our sleeplessness, such as the fear of not hearing if there is danger in your home. If you have trouble sleeping, having your dog close by may be the answer to reducing some of your worries, giving you a chance at a better night’s sleep.
11. It Creates a Schedule for Both You and Your Pet
Dogs, in general, do well with schedules and habits. This is why training them with rewards usually works for most of them. By introducing them to your bed, you are giving them the cue when it is bedtime, and it encourages them to settle down. Dogs who have their own sleeping area, such as a laundry room, have the freedom to wake up whenever they want, roam around, and it opens the possibility of sneaky behavior (ripped apart dog beds anyone?). When they see you sleeping, they will be more inclined to sleep as well. For people who have trouble sleeping, having a nighttime routine will also be beneficial for them.
Why You Might Not Want Your Dog to Sleep in Your Bed
It is simply impossible to examine the pros of co-sleeping with your pet without at least addressing some of the arguments for the dark side. Here are just a few excuses that some of your friends may try to use to convince you otherwise and how you can settle the debate for yourself.
- They carry many illnesses and diseases. You may read that your dog can pass on any myriad of diseases such as the bubonic plague (yes, it still exists), MRSA, or meningitis. It’s undeniable that these things are real possibilities. However, this is also possible if you just have a dog as a pet in your home. It isn’t necessarily a direct result of allowing them to sleep in the bed. If you want to avoid such diseases, don’t let your pup lick your mouth or any open wounds as this is most commonly how the diseases are spread.
- Their claws might scratch you. Again, this is very possible, regardless of where your dog sleeps. You’re more likely to be scratched when playing with them or attempting to bathe them while they are desperately trying to escape the bathtub. To prevent this, make sure to get their nails trimmed regularly. Unless they’re chasing a bird in their dreams, most dogs don’t move too much when they’re in a deep sleep, so a gaping gash is not very likely. Here is the inexpensive electric nail grinder that I use for my pup it’s easy to use and works wonders on their nails – Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder (link to Amazon).
- They’ll get your bed dirty. If you typically leave your pup outside all day where they’re rolling in the yard, you probably don’t have the kind of household that allows dogs in the bed anyway. The little one that you’re inviting into your bed has been lounging around the house during the day, and they can only get so dirty while they’re napping on the couch. But of course, you do let them out to use the toilet or take them for walks which can pick up a little bit of dirt. If you are worried about their tiny feet tracking mud into your bed, give their feet a quick wash or use clean wipes on their paws after their last trip out for the evening.
- They will worsen your allergies. Ultimately this comes down to allergy management and determining what you are allergic to. If you suffer from allergies, you may have to reconsider a pet’s presence in your home in general, not just your bed. If you’re determined to allow the little one in the bed, there are ways to minimize the problem of allergens. By staying on top of your allergy medication, keeping the pup clean, and cleaning your sheets often, sleeping next to your dog is absolutely possible without issue. I am unfortunately in the group of people that absolutely adores animals, yet has terrible allergies to them – such a cruel existence. The best thing you can do to keep your allergies in check, even if your dog doesn’t sleep in your bed, is to get an air purifier. After doing days of research, looking at product reviews, and watching YouTube videos, I finally came across the RENPHO Air Purifier (link to the best price on Amazon). It was intuitive to operate, and I noticed a difference in the quality of air in only a couple of hours. I recently picked up another for my living room, and I keep the first one in the bedroom. An absolute must if you have pets!
- They will forget their rank in the pack. This problem really breaks down to an issue in training and has little to do with sleeping in the bed. If you begin to notice that your once passive dog is asserting itself when it shouldn’t, it would be beneficial to seek out the help of a behavioralist. The best thing you can do early on is to remember to maintain the pack order — both in and out of your bed. Being allowed to sleep in the bed with you should be a treat and a privilege. Begin training at a young age and keep the rules and standards the same through to adulthood.
What It Boils Down To
At the end of the day, co-sleeping with pets, be it a dog or cat or gerbil, is a personal preference and choice. As long as you take care of their training and cleanliness, everything else depends on how your home is the happiest. If you don’t mind sleeping with your pet and you are actually getting a decent amount of sleep, then the benefits are well worth it.
Each family or pet owner shows love to their dog in different ways. Our family has weighed up the pros and cons, and we have decided that our fur baby is allowed to sleep in the bed with us each night. After months of trying it out, we realized we wouldn’t have it any other way! We’ve also been able to get by just fine without allergy issues!
One thing to keep in mind though is that allowing your pup to sleep in the bed with you is an effortless habit to build, one night will probably do the trick, but it is a tough one to break for some dogs. Once they get the idea that your bed is now their bed too, you will struggle to try to re-train them to sleep in their own bed again. Be prepared for this!