Dog lovers have the tendency to fall privy to their canines’ relentless begging of allowing them to sleep with them on the bed. A survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association shows that 42 percent of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep with them in bed. According to everydayhealth.com, dogs serve as a security blanket for those who lack companionship in their lives and so it may be obvious why most dog owners allow their furry counterparts to share the sheets.
However, there may be pros and cons when it comes to sharing the bed with your dog. As tempting as it may be to have them snuggle next to you, it may be wise to be aware of the effects – both good and bad—when it comes to sleeping with your canine.
Dogs are known to help us relax. According to a contributor in pets.webmd.com, the rhythmic breathing of her Labrador retriever mix helps lull her to sleep, which aids in her insomnia. Another added factor of relaxation is that dogs serve as a blanket of warmth.
When it comes to sleeping with your dog, they can provide you with a sense of security. According to Lisa Shives, M.D. via pets.webmd.com, there are a lot of medical benefits to having your dog sleep with you, and one of them is that dogs can make us feel calmer and safer in bed. This increases levels of oxytocin, which involves feelings of relaxation, trust, and stability.
While there may be benefits for humans, there are benefits for dogs too. According to barkpost.com, sleeping with their owners is proven to make the canines happier. In a statement said by Julie Stephenson, an author from the United Kingdom, sharing her bed with her dog has helped her Greek collie feel loved and secured.
However, with every advantage comes a disadvantage. While some experts welcome the idea of dogs and owners sleeping together in the same bed, some counteract the positivity. In a study conducted by The Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, about 53 percent of pet owners say that sleeping with their pets disrupt their sleep.
Dog trainers and veterinarians also weighed in, saying that allowing your dog to sleep in the same bed shows submission and may create problems of dominance. However, according to Dr. Gross DVM, dogs who have non-existent dominance issues will not exist just because they sleep in the same bed as you do.
It is also recommended that those with allergies and asthma should refrain from sharing the covers with their dogs. The shared contact may aggravate it and could cause discomfort while you sleep. Another major concern posed is hygiene.
The California Department of Public Health published a report wherein sleeping with your dog, or any other pet for that matter, could make you sick. Though it can be a rare occurrence, it is very likely that whatever the pet has may be spread to the owner.
Other hygiene issues to consider are ticks. Sharing the bed with your dog could cause a transfer of ticks from your dog to you. Also, if your dog is yet to be housetrained, sharing the bed with them could cause them to make an unwanted mess, especially if they are yet to learn how to alert you to let them go to the bathroom.
Another issue to consider is that sharing the bed with your dog could come between you and your significant other. While some say that having a pet can strengthen relationships, some would argue that it comes between the needed contact between humans, like cuddling or holding one another.
What Can You Do?
If you cannot stand a night sleeping without your pooch by your side, then here are some rules that you could abide by.
One of the main reasons some veto the idea of sharing the bed with your dog is because it could disrupt your sleep pattern. Your dog could hog the bed, it could smell bad, or its snoring can wake you.
According to certified dog trainer Steve Brooks, you should let your dog stay on the floor while you are in bed for at least 10 minutes. After that, you may invite them into your bed on your own accord. Once on the bed, your dog should lay calm at the foot or side of your bed. Keep in mind that the bed is not the place to chew bones or be hyperactive. Establish an atmosphere with your dog wherein the bed is a place for relaxation and peace.
Setting up this scenario allows the bed to be yours and not your dog’s. If you let your dog occupy majority of the space, while you are barely hanging on to the side, then it becomes apparent to the dog that it is his bed and not yours.
If it is tricky to get your dog used to co-sleeping then it may be time to move them to the floor. Try placing a doggy bed on your bed and let your dog sleep in it. Allow them to identify with the bed as their assigned area. After a week or so, move the doggy bed to the floor next to your bed.
Others suggest saying “no” if your dog hops up on the bed. Move your dog to the floor in the event of it trying to settle in, though it can have several repetitions. If that fails, try keeping your dog in a crate and throw in some toys or chew bones to keep it occupied.
Keep in mind that whatever arrangement you decide to take, it can take a lot of training and dedication on your part. Though there have been favorable arguments toward co-sleeping with your dog and there have been arguments against the arrangement, do whatever suits you and your dog. It is best to know what you and your dog get out of the arrangement and what to do in order to sleep in harmony.