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Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Bed with You?

        
          

There are two camps among dog people:  those who believe dogs belong in the owner’s bed, and those who prefer their dogs to stay off the furniture.  What are the benefits to each scenario, and is one way better than the other?  These questions are answered below.

Benefits of Co-Sleeping with your Dog

There are many benefits to allowing your dog to sleep in bed with you.  These include:

Protection

A dog sleeping in your bed will provide more protection against a break in than a dog in a crate.  Even if your dog isn’t a natural protector, studies have shown that burglars are significantly less likely to target a home with dogs.

Warmth

Pet owners can save money on their energy bills by allowing their dogs into the bed.  A dog’s body temperature is naturally a few degrees warmer than a human’s, making even the smallest pet a natural space heater.

Enhanced immune system

Unsure whether you should allow your dog to sleep in bed with your child?  The good news is that plenty of research has shown children who cuddle up to pets at night develop fewer allergies.

Comfort

It’s undeniable that dogs provide a sense of calm and comfort.  Their rhythmic breathing, warm bodies, and general empathy for humans make them a very calming presence in our lives.

One research study in particular has even shown that co-sleeping with your dog can reduce blood pressure.

Disadvantages of Co-Sleeping with your Dog

While there are numerous advantages to co-sleeping with your dog, there are also disadvantages.  These include:

Dog Hair

Regardless of your dog’s breed, it will likely shed.  A lot.  If your dog spends 8+ hours a day in your bed, your sheets will be covered in dog hair, particularly if you have microfiber or flannel sheets.  All bedding that you share with your dog should be washed at least once weekly in hot water.

Allergies/Asthma

Co-sleeping with your pet may not be a possibility if you suffer from allergies or asthma.  Doctors recommend that pet owners with allergies make their bedrooms a pet-free zone.  Even if you are not allergic to pet hair, dander, or dog saliva, you may be allergic to outdoor allergens your pet carries on his or her fur.

Discomfort

Most dogs always want to touch their humans, which can lead to uncomfortable sleeping positions.  Sharing a bed with a dog is not recommended for anyone with a bad back or other injuries.

Injury

Small dogs, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Miniature Poodles, can become injured when sharing a bed with much larger humans or dogs.  For the safety of the pet, these dogs should have their own sleeping areas.

Entitlement

Finally, dogs who are allowed in bed sometimes develop a sense of entitlement to the area.  While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (depending on your training philosophy), the last thing a dog owner wants to do at the end of a long day is fight with their pup for the pillow.

If you are one of the above, I suggest my article titled: Keeping The Dog Off The Bed

Which Way is Best?

There are many benefits and disadvantages to allowing your dog to sleep in bed with you.  Which way is best?  The answer to this question depends on you and your dog.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, keeping your dog out of your bed is your best bet.  However, if you struggle with anxiety, depression, or insomnia, studies have shown that dogs can provide comfort and improvement for these conditions.

One situation where you should proceed with caution is if your dog suffers from resource guarding or aggression.  In this instance, your dog may regard the bed as a resource, and become dangerously possessive.  While there is no way to predict whether your dog will guard your bed, if your pet has shown resource guarding toward the couch, toys, or a dog bed you should ban your dog from the bedroom.

 

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