Should I Let My Dog Sleep in Bed with Me?
Chances are you know someone who lets their dog sleep in their bed! But is sleeping with your dog healthy? We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of letting your dog sleep in your bed so you can make an informed decision.
Sleeping with your dog can reduce your anxiety and help you feel more secure
Dogs tend to be light sleepers and frequently wake up during the night
Puppies need to be crate-trained and potty-trained before they’re allowed to sleep in your bed
Did you know?
Dogs have been co-sleeping with humans ever since they were first domesticated!
If you have a dog that loves snuggles, chances are you’ve had to decide whether to let them up onto your bed or not. It’s hard to say no to those sweet puppy eyes! But whether or not you should let your dog sleep in your bed is a decision that requires some careful thought.
There are many perks to co-sleeping with your dog. And as long as your dog is old enough and doesn’t have health or behavior issues, letting them sleep on your bed shouldn’t be a problem. But when making this decision, you’ll also want to consider a few important factors for your own sleep health.
The Dog Bed Dilemma
It’s estimated that around half of American pet owners let their dogs sleep in bed with them. But not everybody is excited about the idea of sharing their own sleeping space with their four-legged friends.
Sharing your bed with your dog might not always be the best decision for your sleep quality. Dogs sleep differently than we do: they tend to sleep more lightly, ready to wake up at a moment’s notice. And while humans spend about 25% of their sleep in REM sleep, dogs only get about 10% REM sleep.
Because of this, dogs wake up more frequently during the night. Even if they’re content to stay on the bed for as many hours as you do, they’re likely to get up and shift around, potentially disturbing your sleep.
If you’re struggling to get enough deep sleep, these additional nighttime wakings might pose a problem. And there are other comfort factors to consider when deciding if you should let your dog sleep in your bed. If you tend to overheat at night, that extra warmth from your pup might not be what you’re looking for. Additionally, dogs that shed or slobber will likely lead to less-than-fresh sheets, which can be an issue for some sleepers.
When considering the pros and cons of letting your dog sleep in your bed, your comfort is one half of the equation. The other half is the comfort of your dog.
You’ve probably put a lot of thought into making your bed comfy for you, but you might not have thought much about how to make your bed comfortable for your dog. We tend to sleep with our mattresses fairly high off the ground. So for older dogs, dogs with mobility issues, or small dogs, climbing in and out of your bed might not be so easy.
Temperature can also be an issue. With lots of fur to keep them warm, your pup might not be a fan of the layers of blankets and sheets on your bed, especially in warmer months.
Additionally, there are certain dog behavior issues that don’t pair well with co-sleeping. For example, if your dog tends to become territorial or exhibit aggressive behavior, sharing a bed could be a bad idea.
That being said, if your dog is healthy and well-behaved, sleeping in your bed isn’t likely to pose an issue for them. Just keep an eye out to make sure they’re sleeping comfortably!
How Long Do Dogs Sleep?
Even if you let your dog sleep in your bed, you’ll want to make sure they have their own separate dog bed. This is because dogs require more hours of sleep than we do! On average, dogs sleep 10-12 hours everyday, with five of those hours happening during the day.
Because dogs spread their sleeping hours across the day and night, it’s important for them to have a bed of their own, whether or not they sometimes share your bed. This gives them a restful space where they can count on catching all the sleep they need with no disturbances.
These boundaries go both ways. To have a successful co-sleeping experience with your dog, you’ll want to establish your bed as your own space – one that your dog needs permission to enter. This will help reduce the risk of behavioral issues
The Perks of Co-Sleeping
For many people, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of your dog sleeping in bed with you. But several recent studies have found that letting your dog sleep in your bed can actually have a positive impact on your sleep and overall health. And when it comes to the health and happiness of your dog, sleeping in your bed is not likely to have a negative impact.
In fact, many dog owners actually find that sleeping with their dogs in their bedroom helps them sleep better. The comforting effect of having your dog close by can outweigh the potential disruptions.
Cuddling your dog is also a great way to reduce anxiety while you’re trying to fall asleep. In the same way that a weighted blanket or a body pillow might provide extra comfort at night, having your best pal curled up next to you can provide a sense of security and calm. If you live alone, sleeping with your dog can even be a helpful security measure
Additionally, co-sleeping with your dog can help you keep tabs on your pup’s health. Sudden changes in your dog’s sleep schedule can be a sign of health issues. So if they’re sleeping close by you, you’ll have a better sense of how well they’re resting.
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How to Safely Share Your Bed With Your Dog
If you’re thinking of letting your dog sleep in your bed, you’ll want to consider a few helpful habits to make it a better experience for both of you.
First, you’ll want to keep your dog extra clean. When dogs are out and about in the world, they can pick up various allergens on their fur and body. So even if you aren’t allergic to your dog, if you’ve got sensitive skin, brushing and bathing your dog more frequently is a good idea.
Next, if you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to establish a consistent bedtime routine for your dog. You’ll want to take your dog outside to do their business right before bed and right after you wake up. This is especially important.
Finally, it helps to establish clear boundaries when it comes to your mattress. Your dog should have a dedicated space on the bed, whether that’s at your feet or next to you. This should help you both to sleep more comfortably.
It’s a good idea to continue monitoring your dog and making sure they’re getting the quality rest they need. Just like people, dogs can have trouble adjusting to a new sleep environment, so it might take a few weeks for them to settle into sleeping in your bed
At What Age Can I Let My Dog Sleep with Me?
Training a puppy is no small task, and during those first few weeks of crate training, it might seem like letting your puppy sleep in your bed would be an easier option. However, puppyhood is also an important time for your dog to navigate separation anxiety and learn to become comfortable in their own space.
So should a puppy sleep in your bed? It’s better to wait until your pup is older. Crate training and potty training are two big milestones for a young puppy. During crate training, your puppy learns that their crate is a safe and comfy spot that’s just for them. During potty training, your puppy establishes a regular digestive schedule.
These processes take time and are a very important part of helping your puppy settle into their new home. They’re also important for your pup’s behavior, reducing the risk of separation anxiety while you’re away.
So make sure your puppy is fully crate trained and potty trained before you let them on your bed. This will pay off for both you and your puppy – with such small bladders, puppies are accident-prone at night, so you won’t want to end up with stained sheets.
So ultimately, is it okay to sleep with your dog in bed? It’s a personal choice! The good news is, co-sleeping is unlikely to be harmful for you or your dog. If you’re a light sleeper, you might find that your dog wakes frequently and disturbs your slumber. On the other hand, the comfort and security you feel from sleeping next to your dog might make it easier for you to fall asleep.
The bottom line is, as long as you and your pup both have a comfy place to sleep, you can rest easy knowing you’re taking good care of your best pal.