8 November, 2018

Dog Sleeping in Bed with You: A Good or Bad Idea?

two dogs sleeping on a bed

Did you know that  98% of pet owners consider their furry friend family? It’s not surprising considering we dress our pets, send them to daycare and even feed them human food. But is a dog sleeping in bed with you a good idea? Let’s weigh up the “Yays” and “Nays”!

A study done by the American Kennel Club (AKC) found that almost half of respondents allow their dog in bed at night. While snuggling with your pup isn’t for everyone, research shows sleeping with your pet might actually have a positive psychological impact on you. However, if you are on the fence about sharing a bed with your four-legged friend, you might consider the following things!

Conflicts to Consider

As much as we love our fur children, we know that they are not always the cleanest or most compliant beings. Here are some of the not-so-great points to consider when weighing up whether your canine companion gets to sleep in your bed:

Hygiene

For many owners, hygiene is often a concern when allowing your furry friend into bed. Think about it. Your pooch spent a better part of their day outside rolling around in the grass, digging through the dirt and poking their nose who knows where. You will have dirt and a dog sleeping in bed with you!

If you are considering letting your pet pooch hop into bed with you, you may want to think about where they were before hopping on your crisp, white duvet. Never mind muddy paws… dogs like to roll in just about anything from dead animals to bird poop. Ew.

Asthma and Allergies

If your pet makes it past the hygiene test, think about your personal allergies. No matter how cute those big puppy eyes are, your pet probably sheds and gets that dander all over your bed. Nobody will get a good night’s sleep with all that sneezing and snoring going on!

If you have allergies or asthma induced by pet fur, allowing your pet into your room, let alone your bed, is a concern. By doing so, your bedroom becomes an incubator for all types of allergy triggers.

If your cat or dog is “hypoallergenic”, the chances of allergies and asthma being affected are mitigated. However, keep in mind not all hypoallergenic animals are completely foolproof to allergies and breathing complications. It all comes down to whether or not you are allergic to an individual animal’s saliva! There is no such thing as a universal, truly hypoallergenic animal.

Fleas and Ticks

On top of dirt and a dog sleeping in bed with you, is there room for a few more? You may want to take into account whether or not your dog or cat spends a majority of their time outside, particularly near wooded areas. Fleas, ticks, and lice are almost always active! Prepare for itchy nights with a less than ideal sleep quality when your bed is infested with parasites!

Ticks are commonly known for carrying Lyme disease, and in the US, they also have the capacity to carry a variety of other blood-borne pathogens. This is also your friendly reminder to keep up with your routine flea and tick treatment.

Disease Transmission

Simply put, the likelihood of infecting or become infected with an illness from your pet is very rare, although, not completely unheard of says the Center for Disease Control (CDC). However, your furry friend could be a carrier for illness. For instance, if you were ill, your pet could pass the illness onto other house members, even if they don’t become sick themselves.

Different Sleep Cycles

Humans are monophasic sleepers. This means we have one sleep cycle a day ranging from 7-9 hours. By contrast, dogs are polyphasic sleepers. In other words, they have more than two sleep cycles throughout the day.

Because dogs have more frequent sleep cycles than people, they are able to achieve rapid eye movement (REM) sleep quicker; thus, dogs are more alert to sound, lighter in sleep, and more frequent in waking. Previous studies with the AKC have shown that people reported greater sleep disturbances while sleeping with their pet in contrast to owners who don’t.

Unless you sleep like a rock, your sleep quality is likely to be affected by Fidos restlessness throughout the night. Man’s best friend is not necessarily man’s sleep quality’s best friend! Make sure that having a dog sleeping in bed with you doesn’t ruin your rest!

dog sleeping in bed with its owner

Positives

Now that we’ve covered the “Nays” of sharing a bed with Fido or Fifi, let’s look at the positive points!

Relaxation

While co-sleeping with pets can cause sleep disturbances, they can also help alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of security. Remember, dogs are light sleepers and will alert you if anything is out of the ordinary.

Dr. Carol Osborne a veterinarian, mentioned that a dog’s body temperature is warmer than a human’s, so for particularly cold nights, snuggling up with your dog has its benefits. Osborne also states that sleeping with a pet is a great alternative to sleeping medication for individuals with insomnia.

Research also suggests that blood pressure is lowered while petting a furry friend, especially when it’s a pet that people love.

Pet-Owner Bonding

Because many of us work throughout the day, we miss out on a lot of time with our favorite four-legged friends. To share a bed with your pet is a great opportunity for dog-owner bonding. There’s no better way to start out a morning than with a snuggle buddy.

Studies support that physical contact lowers anxiety in dogs. The best spots to pet a dog are on the chest, shoulders, and the base of the neck where the collar usually rests, along with the base of the tail, and chin.

Hit these spots and your relationship will surely improve. There are, however, areas you want to avoid and actually induces stress in dogs. These areas include paws, legs, and the muzzle. If you’ve been petting them in the stressful spots for some time, don’t be too concerned; some dogs come to understand those actions mean affection.

chocolate labrador retriever dog in bed

Ultimately, where your furry friend sleeps is entirely up to you. Unless you have allergies or asthma, the health consequences are minute.

If you’re still training a puppy, there is a certain importance to using a crate. Dogs will avoid soiling their “den,” so by using a crate, your puppy will learn to alert you when they need to go potty.

Limiting a puppy’s exploration during the night will help lay down the rules of the house and nurture good habits. However, once your puppy has matured, most owners have found that the benefits of co-sleeping with their pet outweigh the consequences.

To avoid any disturbances throughout the night you may want to consider your sleeping arrangements to get the best possible experience. What better way to start your day off than next to your canine companion?

Common Questions on a Dog Sleeping in Bed with You

Is it safe to share a bed with my dog if I have asthma?

Is it a good idea to allow my puppy to sleep in the bed with me?

Can I have a dog sleeping in bed with me if they have fleas?

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