As with so many dog-owning topics, there are many different ways of looking at the question of “should I let my dog sleep in my bed?”. The contra arguments may outweigh the pros when it comes to the mess on the bedding, but here are a few pros and cons to help you decide for yourself whether you want to let your dog sleep in your bed or not. Your dog will adapt to your demands, as you are the alpha animal.
Should I let my dog sleep in my bed?
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Arguments for letting your dog share your bed
Why should I let my dog share my bed?
- From the point of view of the dog, it will usually appreciate the idea of laying together with contact, with this view developing from a young age. Physical closeness can be beneficial to both dog and owner. However, you can choose to enjoy this closeness on the sofa but then, for various reasons, prefer to sleep in separate beds. Some of the problems that we will discuss later can be avoided in this way.
- Sleeping next to your dog can have a calming effect and help promote stress reduction. According to studies, the dog also promotes a sense of security in its owner. Cuddling your dog while falling asleep can increase the levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, having positive effects on both you and your dog. It can also help to reduce aggression and promote empathy. In this way it can strengthen the bond between dog and owner. Your dog can also keep you warm at night, acting as your own fluffy hot water bottle!
- American researchers who have studied the influence of pets on their owners’ sleep quality found in a study that people letting their dog sleep in their bed fell asleep faster than cat owners. Not only that – above all, they woke up happier. Dogs should be able to decrease depression in their owners, partly due to the fact that dogs embody unconditional love. People suffering from depression or low self-esteem can benefit emotionally from having a dog by their side. And even the dog, who may otherwise have had to endure life in a shelter, will be happier once it finds a new home with loving owners. But the dog does not have to sleep in the same bed as its master!
Arguments against letting dogs share your bed
What are the negatives?
- Herding dogs can develop an excessive protective instinct when sharing a sleeping space with their human roommate, which can have negative side effects. It can sometimes even lead to the dog reacting jealously or aggressively towards its owner’s partner. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that the dog pushes its owner’s partner out of bed or even prevents him or her from getting in to start with. As soon as your dog shows any such behaviour, you should not let it sleep in the bed, helping to avoid any major problems.
- As well as the positive effects, if your dog is restless at night it can have a negative impact on your quality of sleep. An American study showed that subjects who shared a bed with their dogs had good quality of sleep, but that this was slightly higher if the dog was merely in the same room rather than the same bed.
- Allergy and asthma sufferers should refrain from having a dog in their bedroom at night.
- The hygiene factor also needs to be taken into serious consideration. First and foremost, ensure your dog is regularly wormed and free of parasites such as ticks and fleas. In the worse case scenario, illnesses such as Lyme’s Disease could be transferred from dog to owner.
How can I stop my dog from sleeping in my bed with me?
Teaching your dog to sleep in a separate bed when it is used to sharing yours can be exceptionally difficult. Sometimes the solution is simply to harden your heart against your dog’s whining! Your dog can take a while to get used to the new rules and may be unsettled for a while. Its distress at the changes can be exhausting for you as an owner. Using positive reinforcement such as clicker training or treats can be a good way to teach your dog about the changes in principle, but your best bet is to simply teach your dog from the start that it does not get to sleep in your bed. If this rule applies from the very beginning, your dog will not know any different and will be perfectly happy!
Should I get my dog its own separate cuddly bed?
There are so many dog bed options out there that you are bound to find the perfect choice for your dog, offering it its own comfortable space in which to spend the night. Whether you prefer corduroy, leopard look or herringbone patterns, you will only know the right choice based on your dog’s reaction. It may be that your dog is just as happy with a soft blanket as a large bed!