You love it when your dog sleeps with you. He keeps you warm at night curled up in his sleeping spot and you both wake up to a nice cuddle. Should you let your dog sleep with you, though? You’re wondering if it’s healthy to snuggle your pup at night. Should pet owners sleep with their dog, or put their pups in their own beds at night?
By learning more, you can decide if letting your furry friend snooze in bed with you is a good idea.
Is It Ok If Your Dog Sleeps With You?
The truth is that there are benefits and downsides to co-sleeping with your pooch. It is a decision you can make based on your personal preference as well as other factors including your health and your dog’s health. At the end of the day, you know you need to do what’s best for you and your pup, whether that means sleeping in the same bed with your dog or putting him in a calming dog bed or crate at night.
Weighing Any Human Health Issues
When dog owners are looking into whether or not to sleep with their furry friends, they should first consider if they have any health issues with their pets. For instance, if you suffer from allergies, sleeping in the same bed with your dog can exacerbate them, especially if you have a dog breed that is not considered hypoallergenic.
Dogs collect allergens like dust, dander, and pollen on their coats and will bring them into the bed at night. This can get into your immune system and you could sneeze, have a runny nose, cough, or otherwise suffer from allergies while your pet is sleeping next to you for a long amount of time, so it's best to have other sleeping arrangements in place.
Additionally, if you have sleep apnea, insomnia, or any other problems sleeping, your dog’s tossing and turning could keep you up. His snores could disrupt your sleep, especially if you’re a light sleeper. If you don’t get enough sleep at night because your dog is moving around or making noise, then your sleep quality could go down. This means you could suffer from health issues due to a chronic lack of sleep including high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.
If your dog has fleas, ticks, or other parasites on him, they could bite and infect you. If someone who is very young or old or immunocompromised is in the bed, they are especially at risk of getting ill due to these parasites.
Considering Any Dog Health Issues
You also need to consider your dog’s health issues when weighing if you should sleep with your best friend. If your dog has arthritis or any other musculoskeletal problems, getting in and out of the bed can be harmful to him.
Also, your dog might need to go potty more frequently because he’s just a puppy or he’s very old, and he could end up accidentally peeing in your bed. If he has any injuries, it’s also going to be risky to sleep with him. A dog recovering from TPLO surgery, for example, should be confined to his own space at night.
When your dog’s health is at stake, then it’s better that you put him in his own bed and give him what he needs to be comfortable at night.
Look Into Behavioral Issues
Your dog’s temperament and personality need to be considered when you’re deciding if you want to start co-sleeping with him. If he is prone to aggression, then sleeping with him could make it worse. If you accidentally kick your dog in your sleep or he has a bad dream, you could end up getting growled at or, even worse, your dog could bite you. It may be instinctual and your dog might not even know what he’s doing because he’s half asleep.
If your dog has separation anxiety, then sleeping with him could make it worse because he’ll never learn how to self-pacify and calm himself down. If you snuggle him at night, he’ll likely miss you more during the day and won’t be able to find comfort in his own bed or crate.
Benefits of Sleeping With Your Dog
There are certainly benefits of sleeping with your dog. Touching or snuggling your dog can calm you down and lower your blood pressure, for instance. When you sleep with your dog, you’re also strengthening your bond with him by showing him that he’s part of your pack. This can help with socialization and could even make training him easier.
Experts say that interacting with a dog can help with depression because it increases the flow of oxytocin. Sleeping with your dog could also help with your anxiety and sleep issues, making it easier for you to fall asleep at night, and ease your feelings of loneliness. Essentially, it can be good for your physical and mental health to sleep next to your best friend.
Tips for Co-Sleeping With Your Dog
If you’ve decided you want to sleep with your pooch, then there are healthy ways to go about it.
Before sleeping with a pup with separation anxiety, you can do crate training with them and use positive reinforcement to relieve their anxiety. Once they seem like they can self-pacify, then you can sleep with them.
If your dog has issues climbing on and off your bed, then put doggy stairs next to your bed. Teach your dog how to use them. You can also put wee wee pads around your room if your dog has to relieve himself in the night.
To reduce the chances of bringing allergens into the bed, wipe your dog with a damp towel before he gets into bed with you. Also, bathe him when he gets dirty and wash your sheets frequently. Use a flea and tick treatment on him to prevent parasites from getting onto him and into your bed.
If you want to keep your dog close but don’t want to sleep with him at night, set up a sleeping area for him in your bedroom. Put his crate and/or dog bed there so he has a comfortable place to rest.
Finding the Perfect Dog Bed
If you give your dog the right bed, he’ll be sure to get better sleep at night. Consider the Donut Shag Dog Bed, which offers better sleep, supports your pup’s joints, and will warm him and calm him down. Additionally, you could try the 2-in-1 Honeycomb Ilan Hut Cuddler Cat and Dog Bed, which is a little cave and dog bed for your dog. It’s the ultimate cuddling space that will make your dog feel warm, secure, and snug all night long.
Deciding What’s Best for You and Your Dog
When you sleep with your best friend, you may find that your sleep quality increases or decreases. You need to weigh your own health and your dog’s health before determining if you should sleep together. Once you take all the factors into consideration, then you can make a wise decision that will keep you and your pup healthy and happy.