Be honest. Do you let your fur babies sleep with you in the bed? You’re not alone. A study from 2020 says nearly 75% of dog owners happily share a bed with their dog.
To many pet owners, sleeping with their dog is a no-brainer. They’re family, right? But not all pet owners feel the same way. To some, sleeping with a dog is a violation of boundaries and a topic that divides many couples.
Whether you’re for or against (or neutral of course!) sleeping with your dog, I decided to carry out some research to find out just how beneficial and harmful sleeping with pets can be.
Ahead, the pros and cons of sleeping with your dog – as well as my overall verdict on the matter!
There are many wonderful reasons why sleeping with your pooch is a good idea. Here are the pros of sleeping with your dog.
More Fun Than Sleeping Alone
I’m going to kick off with a personal opinion-based pro here. While I’ve never been a serial sharing-a-bed-with-my-dog sleeper, I have done it many times over the years. Usually, it comes down to when my dog feels like it – Clearly, he makes all the decisions around here! (I’m kidding of course!).
Sleeping with my dog has always been a fun and enjoyable experience. He doesn’t often get under the covers, but he loves cuddling up beside me – or my legs. And I’m not gonna lie – the guy demands A LOT of space. Anyone else considered upgrading to king size purely to get a little extra leg room when Fido sleeps over?
What I love most about sleeping with my dog is that it’s always super entertaining. Between the snoring, the fidgeting, the middle of the night jumping off and later on the bed, and those dreams that make him twitch, it makes the nights way more fun than sleeping alone.
Especially if you live alone, sleeping with your dog can help you feel more at ease and increase your sense of companionship and relaxation. A dog’s warmth and steady heartbeat can help you fall asleep more easily while making you feel safe and snug.
According to research, interacting with dogs can release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of love. As a result, snoozing with your dog can help you relax, feel calmer, and potentially even sleep better. Think of them as a weighted blanket, there to boost your mood and quell feelings of loneliness.
Helps People with Chronic Pain
A study published in the journal Social Sciences found that co-sleeping with your dog may have positive effects on people who suffered from long-term chronic pain – and ultimately, sleep problems.
As per the study, the companionship served as a distraction for patients, preventing them from lying there worrying about their condition and their future. The study also found that sleeping with their pets enhanced feelings of relaxation and overall wellbeing.
Keeps You Warm on Winter Nights
With Fido snuggled up beside you, you’ve gotta admit…it feels a lot less chilly in your bed, right? I don’t know about you, but I hate getting into a cold bed at night. Frankly, I’m always happy if my fur baby goes and makes himself comfortable on the bed because he’s like a little hot water bottle. When I climb under the sheets later, I can feel the warmth radiating from the area where he’s been snoozing.
Snuggling with your dog can feel super cozy on cold winter nights. And trust me, you definitely won’t have a problem getting warm with your beloved furry snuggled up next to you. You may even get a little too warm! But that’s never been an issue for me.
Improves Your Sleep
Research has found that sharing a bed with your dog doesn’t disturb your sleep in a meaningful way. In fact, for many people, sleeping with their dog can help increase feelings of safety and comfort, providing the perfect foundation for a good night’s sleep.
The only real way to tell whether your dog is having a positive or negative effect on your sleep is to self-analyze. Are you continually waking up throughout the night with Fido in your bed? Do his movements and noises disturb your sleep? How do you sleep on night’s when Fido’s out of the bed – better or worse?
Aim to answer these questions as honestly as possible. For some people, sleeping with their pet can actually improve their quality of sleep, while for others it can have the reverse effect. For the sake of your health, it’s worth figuring out how it affects your sleep.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Co-sleeping with your pooch can also have a positive effect on your health. According to a study, petting or touching a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure readings. And what better way to drift off than with your bestie beside you?
Alleviates Anxiety in Dogs
Some dogs HATE people alone. Even being in the next room with the door closed can set some dogs off, leaving them feeling kinda broken inside. Awww. You can ease his or her feelings of anxiety and loneliness by letting them cuddle up to you tonight – and possibly every night after.
For anxious dogs, being close to their owner helps them feel safe and reduces their stress levels. As a result, they often sleep better.
Strengthens Your Bond
Sleeping your beloved four legged friend doesn’t just feel good for you – and him, of course. It also creates a stronger bond between the both of you. Like you and I, dogs are social animals that thrive off interaction. Close beside you, he’ll feel much more relaxed and happier – deeping the love and respect he has for you.
Alongside this, sleeping with your canine lets him know that he’s part of your pack, thus creating a super strong bond. The two of you will be closer than ever once you start sharing a bed!
While there are many benefits of sleeping with your dog, there are a few reasons why your dog shouldn’t sleep with you. Here are the cons of sleeping with your dog.
It’s unlikely to happen with an adult dog, but if you’re sleeping with a puppy, there’s always the chance that you could roll over them during the night – and potentially injure them. For that reason, it’s probably a good idea to wait until they’re a little older and bigger before sharing beds. I have to admit from personal experience that I’ve alarmed my (adult!) dog once or twice when rolling over to the side. Don’t worry, he didn’t get hurt. But you can see how it could be a hazard – particularly towards pups.
Anyone with allergies should think twice about sharing a bed with their dogs since pet dander can irritate allergies. Even if you don’t suffer from allergies, sleeping with a pet can leave you vulnerable to watery eyes and an itchy nose, and that’s not exactly a recipe for a good night’s rest.
According to experts, dander can easily spread across your sheets and pillows. The only way to prevent dander from lingering is to invest in special protective mattress and pillow covers that’ll help prevent the onset of allergies. It’s also important to wash your bedding at least once a week if your dog sleeps with you.
While dogs can transmit diseases and spread parasites to humans, this shouldn’t happen to you if you’re taking good care of your dog. That said, you will need to be vigilant in cleaning your dog’s paws and wiping down their coat before letting him under the covers, otherwise you expose yourself to germs. Remember, your dog walks with unprotected paws leaving them exposed to bacteria from the streets.
Not only that, if they’ve accidentally stood in dog poop or mud, they’ll end up transferring it onto your sheets. And nobody wants to sleep in a dirty bed, right?
Trouble in Paradise
When it comes to the topic of sharing a bed with your dog, not all couples agree. In fact, sleeping with your pet can cause tension in your relationship if one partner dislikes the idea of co-sleeping with their dog. If you’re not careful, this tension could negatively affect your love life.
It’s important to respect your partner’s wishes if they strongly dislike the idea of sharing the bed with your dog. Alternatively, strike a compromise. The two of you can negotiate a schedule that suits both of you. For instance, you could agree on letting the dog sleep in your bed only on weekends, or a certain amount of days in the week.
All in all, it’s always a good idea to talk it out rather than letting tensions brew. Most likely, you’ll come up with the best possible solution once you communicate your concerns.
You know that feeling when someone wakes you up in the night? That’s exactly how your dog feels when they are woken up unexpectedly. Some dogs may show signs of aggressive behavior including growling or even biting. It’s nothing personal, just a reflexive response to being disturbed. While this isn’t the case with all dogs, you do need to be careful – especially if your dog has shown signs of aggression before.
For some people, co-sleeping with a dog improves their sleep quality. For others, it hinders it. One study found that 20% of participants considered their pets as disruptive when sleeping in the same bed or room.
When a dog moves in the bed, you’ll be three times as likely to move too. If your pooch is active in any way while you’re sleeping, you’ll be over four times as likely to wake up. The facts really do speak for themselves, but many pet owners lack awareness because they don’t want to give up slumbering with their bestie.
If you have a hectic work schedule, this is one of the main reasons why your dog shouldn’t sleep with you. By disturbing your sleep, you won’t be getting the amount of quality of sleep needed to perform well the next day. It’s definitely something to consider the next time Fido wants on the bed.
Lack of Space
Love spreading out under the covers? This will most likely stop the moment Fido or Fluffy begin sharing a bed with you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself sandwiched against the wall because my dog needed his space.
No Turning Back
Once your four legged friend discovers the cozy comfort of your bed (and that it’s way more comfortable than his bed), he won’t want to sleep anywhere else. If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons, and you’ve decided you want to let Fido come to bed with you, that’s fine. Just as long as you’re okay with it being an ongoing thing.
Think of it this way: if you upgraded to a foam-based, cloud-like mattress after sleeping on a sagging mattress with springs that dug into your back, would you seriously want to go back? That’s exactly how your dog feels.
Wet Kisses In The Morning
Depends if you view this as a pro or a con. However, there is no denying that once your dog wakes up he may lick you nose or lips. You may like or dislike dog kisses, but it may make you feel a bit gross in the morning. Imagine a long droopy tongue slathering over your face…not ideal.
I guess the one positive is your dog can be your personal alarm clock.
Bed is a place for cleanliness and sleep. You may feel a bit gross having a dog next to you. If you wake up to extra dog hair on the bed, or dog smells, it may feel quite unhygienic.
Of course this depends on the type of dog you have. A very small chihauhau might not be as bad as a labrador or great dane for instance.
After doing extensive research into the subject, I’ve discovered that there really isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to sleeping with your dog. It all comes down to your specific needs and personal preferences.
If you enjoy sharing a bed with your dog, by all means continue doing it. Don’t feel guilty about it, just because someone says it’s wrong or weird. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t feel like less of a pet owner simply because you prefer you and your pooch to sleep separately. That’s totally normal too!
Maybe I’m partial because I enjoy sleeping with my dog, but I think co-sleeping with your pets can be incredibly beneficial – both physically and mentally. That said, I completely get the pet owners who don’t wanna share their bed. As I said, it’s all down to what you like best!
If you are going to sleep with your dog, just make sure you set boundaries, keep them clean, and discuss the topic with your partner before letting Fido jump in!