The APPA (American Pet Products Association) recently published a study revealing that at least 50% of pet owners allow their animals to sleep with them. This is especially true for canine lovers. Sleeping with your dog is obviously something that lots of you prefer.
It goes without saying that it’s obviously a common practice. But is it good or is it bad? Should you really allow your lovable pet to cuddle with you throughout the night? Are there pros and cons or does it not matter at all?
As it turns out, serious arguments are supporting both sides of the debate. Let’s have a look at the debate and find out what is all the fuss about.
Overview of the Debate – Is It Bad?
Dogs are a man's best friend, and it makes sense to let them sleep with us as long as they are properly groomed and clean, right? Well, while there are strong points supporting the overall merits of letting your canine partner up with you under the blanket, there are also some reasonable arguments for you to refrain from this practice.
We’ve taken the liberty of examining both the pros and cons, and we’ll let you decide whether or not you should do it. Let’s have a look.
The Benefits of Sleeping With Your Dog
Help Us Relax & Fight Insomnia
There is a reportedly significant amount of people who share that the rhythmic breathing of their dog allows people to go to sleep quicker. This is especially true for people who are fighting sleeping disorders like insomnia.
The presence of your pet would promote a feeling of safety, stress relief, and calmness. In other words, your pet is capable of taking away all of the things which are known for keeping you up at night. This is definitely something worth accounting for. People who sleep with their pets can enjoy a restful night of good sleep, and that’s something that’s been reported over and over again.
They Are Warm
We all love cuddling but the reason for which it feels even more awesome to snuggle up to your dog on a cold winter night is because their body temperature is about 3-6 degrees warmer compared to ours. Or, to word it differently – canines are the highly efficient non-electric blankets that would make you feel warm and comfortable.
This is a major part of your good nights’ sleep. They work like a portable radiator that you can put in your bed. Sure, this could be seen as a drawback in the summer but who doesn’t love a little warmth through the colder and chilly nights?
They Fight Depression
If there is one thing that our canine companions offer without a shred of doubt is unconditional love. For someone who is fighting the terrible symptoms of depression, this connection could feel rather hard to come by.
Receiving it from your pet that’s always there, right by your side, is something that could provide a tremendous feeling of support. This is undoubtedly one of the things that people who are battling depression need more than anything – the constant presence of encouragement, love, and affection. These are all things that our K9s offer in abundance.
Feeling of Safety
Regardless of whether you own a tiny Chihuahua or a larger Labrador, the truth is that the additional presence of something watching over you delivers a comforting feel that makes you feel safe.
Their enhanced hearing and tendency to bark at strangers, or unknown entities are all factors which would make you feel overly safe – this is something that you ought to account for. What is more, the sheer presence of a dog in the house is something that brings additional comfort and feeling of safety. After all, you know that you’re not alone.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep With Your Dog
They Can Disturb Your Sleep
Just like you have to think about the overnight movements of your partner, you’d have to do so about your dog. They are animals and, as such, they have different sleeping cycles compared to ours. It’s known that they wake up every few hours and even if they don’t jump out of bed, they could disturb your sleep.
This is definitely something that could lead to tiredness and insufficient sleep if it happens every night. Finding the perfect balance is hard, and some people just don’t find it worth the overall effort that is needed.
Allergies & Asthma
Now, you might not be allergic to your canine fellow per say, but keep in mind that every single dog carries allergens. It’s not their fault – it’s just the way things work. Every single time your canine friend gets outside to pee or you take it out for the daily walk, he’s going to be broadly exposed to a range of different allergens, including dust, pollen and worst.
They are going to stick in the dog’s fir and on his paws, and regardless of how good you clean them afterward, you are unlikely to take them all off. This is how they can aggravate certain allergic reactions.
Less Partner Time
That’s just it – when you get your dog used to sleeping with you, it’s rather hard to get alone time with your partner. If you want to enjoy a nice night between the two of you and you close the door, prepare for howling, scratching and barking – your dog needs his sleeping space, and you currently deny it.
This is something that might slide by the first few times, but it definitely gets rather annoying when it happens every night you want to get alone with your partner.
House Training Accidents
Let’s face it – until you get your canine to get used to proper bathroom habits, it’s going to get its business done all over the place. When it sleeps on your bed, and it does the funny business on it, you’d have to steam clean the entire mattress. Believe us when we tell you – that’s not a fun experience.
It’s far easier to throw a rubber mat over its dog bed on the floor and just replace it when you have to. That’s impossible, though, when your dog sleeps with you.
You Can’t Switch Later
It is incredibly hard to get your dog to go back to sleeping on the floor or in a crate once he has had the pleasant taste of the bed.
Ask yourself this, though – can you really blame him? If you’ve had a warm, great, comfy mattress and a pillow with a blanket the one night and you are thrown on the cold tile or wooden floor the next – wouldn’t you feel upset too?
If you decide to go back to crate training, you should be prepared for a lot of sleepless nights, and you can rest assured that you’ll get a lot of whining about it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it mean anything that my dog wants to sleep in my bed?
It means that you’ve created a habit in your dog. It has gotten used to sleeping in the comfort of your bed and, chances are, it’s going to be rather challenging to get him to stop doing it.
It means nothing in particular – you’ve presented your dog with a comfortable alternative and something that he has a true passion for – sleeping with his owner – the one thing that he loves the most.
How can I stop my dog from sleeping with me every night?
The truth is that it would be rather challenging to do so. Going back to crate training suggests that you’d have to spend quite some time getting your dog to get used to a brand new habit.
This is especially true if you’ve never taught him to do so in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not a pleasant experience, and you should be aware of it. It is a challenge that would probably bring you quite a lot of sleepless nights, howling, scratching of doors and crying.
Why does my dog sleep at my feet?
If your dog sleeps on your feet, it suggests that it is submissive. Even though this might not be the best pose for him to sleep in, it suggests that it has a sense of security. Keep in mind that you are considered to be the leader of his pack, and he has a very strong connection to that.
Your canine will become a shadow of you – it would want to follow you anywhere and embark on whatever adventure you do. But when it comes to basic habits, it knows its place. This is the main reason for which, unless otherwise permitted, the dog will sleep at your feet.
What does each sleeping position mean for my pet?
Your dog is a clever companion which could read your sleeping positions easily. If you decide to open yourself in a side sleeping position, allowing your pet to come close, it will do so immediately. It shows him that you want him close.
On the other hand, should you start turning your back or pulling your legs away from it, the dog would likely go and cuddle up at your feet, acquiring a submissive position as he knows he’s not the leader of the pack.
As you can see, it’s primarily a matter of personal preferences and health conditions. If you have no issues allowing your canine sleeping with you on your bed, it could bring certain benefits.
On the other hand, if you know that you have certain health conditions and you wouldn’t want to aggravate them, it would be best not to go down this path. These are the things that you’d want to consider. Always discuss this with your partner as it’s something that’s likely to have an impact on both of your lives.
Sources and References:
- Should You Let Your Dog Sleep with You at Night? – healthline.com
- Should Pets Be Banished From the Bedroom? – psychologytoday.com
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.