When people get a dog, oftentimes they become real members of the family. We play with our dogs. We eat with our dogs. And some people even sleep with their dogs.
Have you ever asked yourself, “should I let my dog sleep in my bed?” Many people don’t even think about that question before getting a dog. But what’s the right answer?
Today, we’re going to think through this very important question.
Should I Let My Dog Sleep in My Bed?
In truth, letting your dog sleep in your bed is a personal decision. If you live alone, it might be comforting to have your pooch nearby. Then again, if you do have a partner, is your bed going to be big enough for the three of you? And how can you kick your dog out of bed if your living situation changes?
Deciding where your dog is going to sleep is an important decision to make because a dog’s sleeping arrangements don’t often change once they are set. Take a look below at the reasons many people cite for why or why not a dog should sleep in your bed.
Reasons Why You Should Sleep with Your Dog
Here’s the most obvious reason to let your dog sleep with you: they make great cuddle partners. On cold nights, it’s wonderful to have your best friend to keep you warm. It makes sense too. A dog’s natural body temperature is actually a few degrees warmer than the average human’s temperature. Those few degrees can make all the difference on a frigid night.
Dogs can also seem to contort themselves to fill in all those “empty” spots in bed. Have you ever pulled your sheets up only to have your dog nestle between your legs or sneak in under your arms? Dogs seem to know all the best cuddle positions. In this case, it’s easy to see why your dog should be in bed with you.
Dogs Help Us Relax
While dogs may keep us warm on a cold night, they can do a whole lot more than that. There have been numerous studies looking at the effects of human and dog interaction. One such study shows that petting, stroking or even cuddling can lead to a rise in oxytocin in both humans and dogs. Oxytocin is often called the “love” or “cuddle” hormone. This is because it is a naturally occurring compound in the brain that seems to increase bonding. So, sleeping with your dog can actually make you two love each other more!
It seems that dogs may have been domesticated because their relationship with humans was mutually beneficial. Dogs would protect humans from bigger animals. In return, humans would give dogs food and shelter.
This relationship still continues today. Many people keep dogs around just because they make affectionate companions, but dogs can help warn us when danger is near as well. Sleeping with a dog is one thing that can make you feel much safer when you’re in a vulnerable position.
Why Shouldn’t Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed
As nice as it is to sleep with your dog, there are a number of reasons why a person might decide not to sleep with them.
Dogs Bring Allergens with Them
There are people who are allergic to dogs. Therefore, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want a dog in their bed. Even if you are not allergic to dogs, a dog spends a lot of time outside. Dogs may pick up pollen or other allergens from outside. Sleeping with your dog is a great way to invite allergens into your bed in this case. That’s something that’s probably best avoided if you have allergies.
If you have a young dog, there’s a chance they will have an accident on your bed. It’s just a fact of life that accidents happen, and it can happen to the most well-trained dog too. Your dog can also get sick in the middle of the night, then you’ll be stuck cleaning up your own bed before you’ve had your first cup of coffee.
If you sleep with a partner, there’s a possibility that your dog can become territorial or aggressive when your partner comes to bed. If you are in the most vulnerable position, it’s no wonder that your dog would want to protect you. If your dog shows aggression to your partner when they come to bed, maybe your dog needs to learn that the bed is not their domain.
Poor Sleep Quality
There have been numerous studies on how sleeping with a dog affects human sleep. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, it seems that sleeping with a dog can decrease the quality of a human’s sleep. The amount of change wasn’t substantial, but if you are a very light sleeper, this is something to consider.
Sleeping with your dog in your bed is a very personal decision that really only you can make. Be certain to keep in mind that the decision you make today will likely be kept through your dog’s lifetime, so look at it from multiple perspectives. Consider:
- Am I okay with this decision being permanent?
- Do I plan on my life circumstances changing soon?
- Have I asked the other people I live with what they want?
- Have I taken my dog’s comfort into account?
Once you think about those questions, remember there’s a middle ground. That research from the Mayo Clinic found that a dog sleeping in bed decreases sleep quality, but a dog sleeping in the bedroom doesn’t. Make your dog a bed just as comfortable as your own and you’ll both be catching z’s in no time.