We all love our canine companions. Coming home to a wagging tail is the highlight of many people’s day. Dogs are a major part of our culture and are members of the family. For thousands of years, dogs have been man’s best friend, and often your bed’s best friend.
A survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association found 42 percent of all dog owners surveyed allowed their dog to sleep with them at night. Mattress manufacturer, Novosbed, conducted a similar survey and found a whopping 71 percent of dog owners surveyed slept with their dog nightly.
For dog lovers, nothing beats snuggling up with your pup. However, if you’ve been noticing poor sleep quality, increased allergies, and behavioral issues with your dog, it might be time to get Fido his own bed. If you’ve been sleeping with your dog, or are considering allowing your dog to hop into bed with you, here are a few pros and cons to consider.
If you’re in bed with your dog reading this, you already know the warmth and comfort your dog can bring when it’s time for bed. If imagining your pup staring at your cozy bed from the floor, it might be easier giving in to those sad puppy dog eyes with these pros of sleeping with your dog.
Having a dog is nothing new in terms of safety. History shows that Aboriginal Australians slept with dingos for both protection and warmth. As a dog’s natural instincts are to protect their families, it is no surprise multiple studies show that owning a dog can decrease the likelihood of property crimes like vandalism and theft.
Dogs didn’t earn the nickname “man’s best friend” for no reason. From highly trained canines in law enforcement, emotional support dogs, service dogs, to our family pets, dogs play an important role in society. Many people rely on their service animals for basic everyday needs and could not live full lives without them. As of 2016, there were over 500,000 service dogs in the United States.
When it comes to sleep, service dogs play an important role. In recent years, service dogs have been trained to help those suffering from sleep disorders. For example, a service dog trained to help patients suffering from narcolepsy, can learn to recognize the signs of a narcoleptic attack and help patients stay alert and get medicine they need. For those suffering from PTSD, sleeping with a dog can reduce nightmares, decrease anxiety, and provide an overall sense of safety.
Sleeping with a 100-lbs snoring dog might sound like the ultimate sleep disruption for many. However, studies have shown that sleeping with your dog can, in fact, improve or maintain your sleep quality especially for adult women.
A study that garnered media attention concluded women experienced improved sleep quality when sleeping with a dog over their male significant others or cats. The study found that the female dog owners felt a sense of security sleeping with their dogs and reported dogs “stay put”, or tend to sleep at the foot of the bed and cause fewer disruptions than cats and human partners.
Any dog owner can attest to the mental health benefits of owning a dog. Along with undeniable happiness, dogs improve your overall health and letting your furry friend snuggle up to you at night can only help. Numerous studies have shown various health benefits of owning a dog that also apply to sleeping with your dog such as improved cardiovascular health and decreased depression, which can improve sleep.
The health benefit of owning a dog applies to growing children as well as adults. A 2012 study concluded that children in homes with dogs were 31 percent less likely to have common childhood illnesses like colds, coughs, and ear infections versus children in homes without dogs.
Bonding with your dog is one of the most important aspects of pet ownership. While you might fall in love at first sight with your adorable new puppy, your new family member will need some time to bond with you and learn to trust you.
Allowing your dog to sleep with you helps build trust. Dogs are pack animals, which is why they sleep huddled together as puppies. Sleeping with your dog shows them that they are a member of your pack which builds trust.
Sleeping with your dog doesn’t always result in a warm, snuggly night of deep sleep. In fact, some studies and experts advise not to sleep with your dog. If you are unsure about sleeping with your dog, here are a few reasons to reconsider.
Millions of people suffer from allergies, especially at night. Anyone who has had trouble falling asleep with a stuffy nose knows how frustrating it is. Along with dust and mold, pet dander is one of the most common allergies. Those who sleep with their dog are particularly vulnerable to nighttime allergy symptoms.
While you might not be allergic to your dog, dogs can track in pollen and other outdoor allergens into your home and bed. To keep allergies at bay, it is best to get your canine companion their own bed.
Humans rarely get diseases or infections from dogs. While the risk is low, it is still possible to catch a zoonotic disease or illness from a dog.
Parasites like tapeworms and hookworms can be spread from dogs to humans as well as Giardia, MRSA, ringworm, rabies, and Salmonella. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the best way to protect yourself from germs is to wash your hands after caring for, feeding, or cleaning up after your dog.
If your dog has behavioral problems like issues with dominance or aggression, it is best to let them have their own space when it’s time for bed. Veterinarians and animal behavior experts advise that sleeping with your dog will not cause dominance and aggression, but can compound those behaviors if they are already present.
If your dog is showing signs of aggression around their shared sleeping area, it is best to get them their own bed and contact a licensed trainer or your veterinarian.
Letting your dog sleep in your bed with you can be just as disruptive as it is warm and comforting, especially if your dog snores or moves frequently. Disrupted sleep leads to decreased sleep quality and not feeling rested in the morning.
Frequent poor sleep can cause numerous health issues. Sleeping with your dog can also disrupt their sleep as well. If you notice your dog moving the covers, readjusting, acting restless, or frequently walking in circles before bed, their sleep might be disrupted as well. If this is the case, it would be ideal for both you and your dog to have separate beds.
Sometimes your dog can come between you and your significant other in more ways than one. Many couples report their shared dogs or a significant other’s dog that was in the picture prior to the relationship as causing problems in their current relationship (Google shows over 3,400,400 results for “dog is ruining my relationship”).
If you feel your partner is choosing the dog over you, or having your dog sleep in the bed with you and your partner, then it is time for separate sleeping arrangements. This is especially true if your dog exhibits territorial and jealous behaviors.
Deciding to sleep with your dog is completely up to you. Experts and studies show conflicting views on sharing your bed with your dog. If sleeping with your dog is something you enjoy, then feel free to cuddle up with your pup.
However, if sleeping with your dog is causing health issues, relationship conflict, or poor sleep, then it is best to sleep apart. Ultimately, the decision to sleep with your dog depends on what is best for you, your family, and your dog.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to upgrade your sleep, check out our mattress guide for heavier people, couples and pet owners!