Dogs tend to love sharing beds with their humans…
It could either be through invasion or invitation…
Whichever it is, should you encourage co-sleeping with your pooch?
You’re about to discover:
- 7 cons of sleeping with your dog.
- Fact or myth: dogs make your sleep terrible.
- 7 possible dangers of co-sleeping with your pooch.
- 9 pros of letting your dog sleep with you in the bed.
- And that’s just the beginning…
Table of contents
- Is it good or bad to sleep with your dog?
- 9 pros and 7 cons of sleeping with your dog
- Pro #1: Both you and your dog will sleep better
- Pro #2: Their presence could relax you
- Pro #3: It strengthens your bond
- Pro #4: Your dog makes you feel safer
- Pro #5: They ease your loneliness
- Pro #6: Dogs emit warmth
- Pro #7: Co-sleeping is good for your heart
- Pro #8: Your dog can help with your insomnia
- Pro #9: It makes our dog happy
- Con #1: Dogs are bed hoggers
- Con #2: Dogs get up at night
- Con #3: Your dog snores
- Con #4: Dogs tend to twitch in their sleep
- Con #5: Get ready for fur…everywhere
- Con #6: They affect the temperature
- Con #7: Who wakes up who
- 7 dangers of sleeping with dogs
Is it good or bad to sleep with your dog?
It’s up to you to decide if sleeping with your dog is good or bad. It’s because it’s you who’ll be dealing with the results, whether positive or negative. There are many studies that aim to know the benefits of co-sleeping with dogs. But, there are some risks to note when sleeping with your pooch.
9 pros and 7 cons of sleeping with your dog
Pro #1: Both you and your dog will sleep better
Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t totally affect your sleep quality negatively.
Numerous studies help us oppose that long-assumed idea.
An example is this recent study:
For 5 months, researchers investigated humans and dogs who share a bed.
The goal of the investigation was to point out whether such a setup is good for both parties.
And lo and behold, the results come out as satisfactory!
It’s as satisfying as the sleep quality that you could get from sleeping with your dog.
Not only that, but the researchers also found something from the subject dogs…
Those canines shared the same results with their dog parents. Although a little better.
Here’s a table to summarize the findings:
|Subject||Sleep efficiency percentage|
These results are assuring.
For sleep to be good, it has to reach the threshold of 80% sleep efficiency.
“What is sleep efficiency exactly?”
It’s basically the quality of your sleep.
With that, the study concludes:
That your dog being in bed may not be as disruptive as advertised. In fact, they even help you sleep better.
The importance of sleep in dogs
Sleep is essential to your dog’s health.
Fido needs at least 10 hours of sleep per day.
There are limited studies about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation in dogs.
That’s because humans see it as cruel to interrupt a dog’s sleep for experimentation.
However, such studies have been done on humans. Various results say that sleep deprivation causes a bad mood.
Vets from PetMD state that it might be the same for dogs.
So, here are signs of sleep-deprivation in dogs to watch out for:
- Difficulty concentrating on your commands.
Pro #2: Their presence could relax you
Being near your dog could already release a rush of oxytocin in the both of you…
What more if you cuddle and sleep in the same bed?
Such a rush of that hormone could comfort and relax you.
Moreover, the oxytocin hormone goes by many names. It could be the “love hormones,” “cuddle chemicals,” or “happiness hormones.”
It’s named that way as it promotes love and is good for the individual’s well-being.
Based on research, oxytocin plays a role in relationships. May it be romantic, platonic, and even the one with your dog.
You could get a charge of these hormones during physical interactions with your dog. It can range from simple petting to cuddling.
When you do, it makes you feel lighter. Then, you’d feel as if your stress is relieving. Then, feeling that way could help improve your sleep.
Pro #3: It strengthens your bond
When you let your dog share a bed with you, your bond with them grows strong.
By sleeping together, you increase cuddle time with them.
It also keeps you close to each other.
Moreover, sleeping is an activity that makes both of you vulnerable…
But that doesn’t matter as you already trust each other.
Plus, this setup makes your dog feel like they’re really part of the family.
Did you know? Rescued or adopted dogs will better bond with their dog parent if they sleep in the same bed.
Remember: Dogs are pack animals who share a den. Those early canines used to sleep in the same shelter with their pack members.
That’s also why, as puppies, dogs sleep with their littermates.
With that, your pooch gets a sense of being part of the family if you let them sleep with you.
Moreover, I’d talked about oxytocin in the previous section, right?
It’s still applicable here. Such chemical substances in the body don’t just make you feel less stressed.
What I didn’t mention before was oxytocin’s lasting effect.
It’s a hormone that increases the feeling of being loved. It’ll make you love your dog so much, it hurts.
Then, your dog feels the same way.
So, you create a lasting relationship with your fur baby.
Pro #4: Your dog makes you feel safer
The presence of another being in bed makes you feel safe…
What more if that being is your beloved pooch?
It’s a widely known fact:
Dogs are protective of their family.
Thus, letting them sleep on your bed can increase your feeling of security.
No security alarm can compete with your vigilant Fido.
If your dog sleeps with their back to you, you can start feeling secure. That’s because such an arrangement is a ‘defense position’ for dogs.
That’s why women in this 2018 survey claim to feel safer if their dog sleeps next to them.
Furthermore, these women feel more guarded with dogs beside them. They would feel safer compared to when they’re with a human being or a cat.
Moreover, humans can trace that feeling of security with dogs from a long time ago.
Based on this research, co-sleeping with dogs has been part of a tradition in some cultures. They view it as beneficial.
Like for Aboriginal Australians who co-sleep with their dogs…
When they do, it’s believed that their canine companions ward off bad spirits.
Pro #5: They ease your loneliness
Before you drift off to dreamland, you cuddle with your pup first.
You don’t even notice that sleep’s finally enveloping you…
Next thing you know, it’s morning.
And the first thing you see is your pooch.
They might be sleeping soundly, looking at you, or doing whatever they can do while you’re asleep.
Regardless, that moment put a smile on your face. And maybe by just imagining this scenario, you did smile.
That’s what your pooch does to you. To everyone.
Dogs make us all happy.
Here, oxytocin is still at play. Those hormones are released so much that dogs should be given a nickname like ‘Oxytocin Hero.’
That aside, letting your dog sleep next to you can boost your overall mental health.
There are studies after another that investigate such experiences.
This particular research investigated the effects of having Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI).
The results show that dogs could help with the following:
- PTSD symptoms.
Dogs can also make you more active. That’s what this study says.
And, with more activity comes a better chance of getting good sleep.
Then, with good sleep, your mental well-being is protected. It’ll help boost your mood for the next day.
Pro #6: Dogs emit warmth
When I say warmth, I don’t mean that feeling of affection and tenderness.
Although, your dog does give you the same feelings when you sleep with them.
However, what I meant is more literal.
Dogs are naturally warm in temperature. Think of them as walking and barking radiators.
On average, a dog’s body temperature is 43℉ (6℃ ) higher than humans.
That’s what makes them perfect for cuddling!
They’re huggable, and their heat is something that might soothe you.
This is particularly helpful during cold nights.
Moreover, you emit warmth as well. That’s why both of your temperatures are mutually beneficial to each other.
Lastly, dogs have a harder time regulating their body heat than us.
With your warmth around, it can help with the process and let them sleep better.
Pro #7: Co-sleeping is good for your heart
First, let’s start small…
Did you know? Petting your dog could lower your blood pressure (BP). That’s what this investigation focused on.
The authors concluded that touch is the major component of such a reaction.
There are cognitive factors as well. However, it’s less than what physical touch does.
With that, every time you touch your dog, you experience positive effects in your heart.
Moreover, the American Heart Association (AHA) has ample research about this topic.
This study is one of those many that are available:
It says that dogs are believed to lessen cardiovascular risks.
Then, further in the research, there’s something big that’s found…
It’s the fact that dog parents may owe longevity to their canine companions.
That’s because interactions with your dog lower cardiovascular mortality.
One of those interactions is sleeping with your pooch.
It includes the cuddles, snuggles, and smiles you get from your pup.
Now it all makes sense to say that your dog makes your heart happy.
Pro #8: Your dog can help with your insomnia
Do you have trouble sleeping or insomnia?
Having your dog sleep next to you can help you with that.
Let’s break it down piece by piece…
Here are ways on how your dog could help you with your insomnia:
Way #1: When your dog’s already asleep, they’ll be breathing rhythmically.
With them next to you, you might be able to follow that relaxing rhythm.
Your heart might even calm down with your heart rate decreasing.
Little do you know, you’re being lulled to sleep.
Way #2: Some dog parents say that they treat their dog’s snoring as white noise. Such a sound helps them fall asleep faster.
Way #3: As discussed, having your dog by your side makes you calmer and feel more secure.
That’s why knowing your dog’s there next to you can soothe your mind.
With that, you’re prone to sleeping soundly and waking up well-rested.
Pro #9: It makes our dog happy
It’s not only you who’ll enjoy this setup…
Your pooch greatly appreciates you allowing them to sleep next to you.
You might already know it, but let me repeat it…
Your fur baby loves you so much. They don’t want anything else but to be near you.
That’s why sleeping next to you is a big win for them.
They’ll also experience some of the benefits that you’ll have.
They’ll feel warmer, more relaxed, and more comfortable.
Co-sleeping can also help ease your dog’s anxiety.
That’s because, for your pooch, you’re their calm. Being next to you is being safe and sound.
Moreover, there’s no denying that your pup enjoys your soft sheets.
Con #1: Dogs are bed hoggers
You have an adequate-sized bed.
However, with your dog there, it doesn’t seem like it.
It’s because you might start with equal space with them…
But, once you wake up…
You’re pushed almost to the edge of the bed.
Then there’s your Snuggles who’s sleeping soundly and comfortably…
They’re able to feel that way because they successfully hogged a lot of bed space.
Wait, it doesn’t stop there!
That’s because, after a few nights of sleeping with your dog, things have escalated.
You no longer start with equal spaces.
Almost immediately, a big space is reserved under a Mr. or Ms. McFlufferson.
With that, it leaves you with a small space…
And worse, maybe even a backache for holding yourself to not being pushed to the edge…
Note: This isn’t just a case of when you sleep with a medium or large dog. Dog parents with small fur babies can relate to this experience, too.
Con #2: Dogs get up at night
This is one of the top concerns when you sleep with your dog.
No matter how much you try, your pooch might be compelled to get up in the middle of the night. Moreover, it might even be accompanied by whining.
It could be due to numerous reasons.
Like, when they’re in heat or sexually frustrated…
You’ll be awakened by whining or scratching at the door. That’s because they aim to escape and find another canine to mate with…
Sometimes, your dog will get up because they’re thirsty. If they don’t have their water bowl in the room, they’ll cry as well.
Other times, it’s the other way around. Your pooch gets up and whines because they need a bathroom break…
If you don’t give that break, they might result in doing their business inside your room.
There’s also a scenario where they’re hungry and want a midnight snack.
And as you know, dogs are alert beings. Plus, they want to protect you.
Those factors make them highly reactive.
That’s why they might alert you of small things like critters, rodents, and the wind hitting the trees…
Lastly, if your dog has allergies, they might stay up all night scratching.
You might also like: 13 Odd Reasons Why Dogs Whine At Night + 5 Tips To Stop It
Con #3: Your dog snores
Like I said earlier, some dog parents treat snoring as white noise. But there are other parents who see this as a huge disruption…
One moment you’re fast asleep. Next thing you know, you’re awakened by the loud snoring that shakes your room…
You can experience this constantly if your dog is brachycephalic.
Vets tell us that that term is used to describe dogs with short skulls and snouts.
Some examples of brachycephalic dogs are:
- Shih Tzus.
- Bull Mastiffs.
- English Bulldogs.
They’re predisposed snorers because their airways are much shorter.
However, all dogs are capable of snoring.
You might catch your pooch snoring if they’re lying flat on their back.
That’s because the position makes their tongue rest in a weird spot. With that, it partially blocks the airways in their mouth.
Other causes of snoring in dogs:
- Sleep apnoea.
- Dental problems.
“Should I be worried if my dog snores?”
As I said, all dogs are capable of snoring.
Sometimes, it’s just an issue of a partially blocked nasal passage.
But, since there are medical-related causes of snoring, there’s a need for your attention.
Moreover, you should be concerned once your pooch suddenly becomes a snorer.
Where one night they’re a sound sleeper, then the next they’re sawing wood in their sleep…
A veterinarian should examine such a case.
For frequent snorers, dog parents say that they adjusted for their dogs.
Con #4: Dogs tend to twitch in their sleep
Often, you could catch your fur baby twitching in their sleep.
Fido could be whimpering or moving their paws while their eyes are closed.
Sometimes, it even looks like they’re running a marathon in dreamland.
It’s entertaining to watch…
Although not in the middle of the night. More importantly, not when your sleep has been disrupted.
So, if you want your dog to sleep next to you…
You’re going to have to deal with this almost constantly.
That’s because this behavior might appear more than you need it to.
“When they twitch, does it mean that my dog is dreaming?”
To answer, let me discuss dog dreams further…
Do dogs dream?
The answer is yes, they do.
Dr. Stanley Coren, a renowned psychologist, talked about it.
He says that it might come out more surprising to us if, in the end, dogs don’t dream.
But they do…
Scientists had proven it when they removed dogs’ pons in an experiment. Those pons are the part of the brain that stops your dog from acting out their dreams…
Without that, the dogs were moving around in their sleep in the experiment.
Their brains are monitored during this event. The electrical recordings show that these dogs are indeed sleeping soundly.
With that, researchers were able to conclude that:
Dogs are capable of dreaming in their sleep.
Moreover, they dream about everyday things for them. And they even dream about you.
Warning: Don’t wake your dog up when they’re twitching and whimpering during sleep.
That’s because you might startle them. With that, you risk your pooch biting you.
Con #5: Get ready for fur…everywhere
If your dog isn’t a shedder, then you’re a lucky one who can skip this part…
Or, you can learn more about the struggles of dog parents with a shedder.
And for those that do, welcome to another one of your battles to endure for your dog…
On your beautiful sheets, no matter the color of the bedding.
When it’s time for a change of bedclothes, and you lift your mattress up…
You might find that there’s more fur under the mattress. There are also clumps in the corner of your bed frames.
Those are the things that you can expect if you let your shedding dog sleep next to you.
Here are some examples of dog breeds who shed a lot:
- Chow Chows.
- Siberian Huskies.
- Golden Retrievers.
- German Shepherds.
- Alaskan Malamutes.
- Labrador Retrievers.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Con #6: They affect the temperature
As I said a while ago, dogs emit warmth…
That’s a good thing if the weather’s chilly.
However, it doesn’t make an ideal setup during the summer or hot climates.
Your canine’s body heat might cause you to stir at night frequently.
You might find yourself getting up, kicking your blanket away, or nudging Fido from you.
Sometimes, you might catch yourself sweating too much and feeling sticky…
With that, all these can contribute to you getting little sleep.
Con #7: Who wakes up who
It’s almost a mutual understanding between each dog parents…
When asked, “What time does your dog wake up?”
Another dog parent might say, “Too early…”
Yep, dogs tend to do that.
You might experience your dog licking your face in the morning. If not that, then your pooch might bring their favorite toy to you in bed,
Sometimes, it lightens the mood and makes your day. Other times it’s too much to bear on an early weekend…
“How do dogs know it’s time to wake up?”
The answer is they just do…
Half of the time, your pup practices what they learned from you.
If you wake up at 6 am, your pooch will likely wake up at the same time
However, I did mention that dogs are highly reactive.
So, the other half is when they let the dog in them lead the way.
Once something catches their attention and wakes them up…
It might be hard for them to go back to sleep.
It’s because dogs don’t sleep the way humans do.
With that, they might get bored that you’re not yet awake. And so, they’re left with one option…
And that’s to disrupt your sleep and make you get up easily…
7 dangers of sleeping with dogs
#1: It’s not safe for your small dog
If you own a large dog, then they’re in for a great snuggling…
However, smaller dogs might not experience the same thing.
For canines their size, sleeping next to humans might not be a good decision.
That’s because it poses a risk for them, such as:
- It’s harder for them to get off the bed.
- Suffocation from your blankets or your hug.
- If they’re pushed to the edge, they might not take the fall lightly.
- Being crushed by your weight when you accidentally lie on them.
With that, keep your dog’s safety in mind first.
Warning: This is riskier if your dog’s still a puppy.
#2: Co-sleeping worsens allergies
No matter how much you love your pooch, there’s but one issue…
You might be allergic to their fur.
If not that, it could be their dander, which are tiny specks of skins.
And with them sleeping next to you and spreading those everywhere…
You might be close to an allergic reaction.
Regardless if it might be just mild, having your pet beside you can aggravate your allergies.
Even having them around your room can pose the same risk.
That’s why if you’re allergic to them, it might be best for your health if your room’s a ‘no dog zone.’
But say you’re not allergic to your dog…
Don’t be complacent just yet!
During your dog’s walks, dust and pollen attach to their fur.
And if they’re not cleaned before bedtime, they can bring those to your clean sheets.
Warning: You can develop animal allergies at any point in your life.
Moreover, it’s not just dogs that you can be allergic to. You can be allergic to rabbits, horses, hamsters, or birds.
#3: You risk an asthmatic episode
First, let’s get one thing straight…
According to experts, it’s not your dog’s fur that makes your asthma worse.
So, what does? They’re the following allergens:
Note: Those have one component in common. They all have protein in them that makes your body respond.
So, if you inhale or touch those, your immune system might overreact. Then, that causes your asthma symptoms to get worse.
It also doesn’t help if you’re already allergic to your dog and asthmatic…
#4: They might bring parasites
Unfortunately, bloodsuckers are hanging in your dog’s skin.
I’m talking about parasites like fleas and ticks.
Not only are they dangers to your dog…
These kinds of parasites are drawn to human blood, too.
Fleas like your blood
They can jump off of your pooch and cling to you.
What makes their bite itchy for your dog is the same reason why you’ll get itchy from it.
When biting, fleas also inject their saliva under your skin.
That saliva is filled with protein that could cause you allergies.
For some people, the effects are worse.
Experts say that if you scratch too much, it can lead to skin infections.
Moreover, fleas don’t just multiply in your dog’s body. If they fall off, they can live in carpets, beddings, or rugs.
Ticks are even more dangerous
These tiny blood-sucking bugs like the taste of your blood, too. They don’t just target your canine…
Ticks will bite on warm and moist areas. Once they do, they might remain attached if they’re not removed.
They can hold their bite for 10 days until they become large and full enough. Then, they’ll detach and fall off…
Professionals say that sometimes, these bites are harmless. But, you might be allergic to them, and it can cause a bad allergic reaction.
Moreover, ticks often carry harmful diseases like:
- Lyme disease.
- Colorado tick fever.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
#5: Cause separation anxiety (or make it worse)
If your dog has separation anxiety, this setup is both good and bad for them.
It makes them feel safe and closer to you, sure…
But, it encourages the issue.
With that, your dog’s separation anxiety could grow worse.
They might have a harder time detaching a little from you.
That’s because even until you sleep, they’re near you.
According to VCA Hospitals, here are signs of separation anxiety in dogs:
- Destructive behaviors.
- Whining before you leave.
- Following you everywhere when you’re home.
- Being extremely excited when you finally get home.
If your pooch doesn’t have this condition, they might develop it if they’re very used to the setup…
Continue reading: Why Does My Dog All Of A Sudden Have (Separation) Anxiety?
#6: It’s not good for territorial dogs
This is another issue that might arise or get worse if you let your dog sleep with you…
After a few nights, your pooch might claim your bed as theirs.
As mentioned, dogs are den animals.
Now, your pup might consider your bed as their den.
You can either be totally, slightly, or not-at-all welcome to this new territory of theirs.
ASPCA says that this is called territorial aggression. It could project towards a family member or another canine.
If you live in a multi-people and multi-dog household, Fido might not be in the mood to share the bed. Ever…
As said, you might be an exception. With that, it’s up to you to decide if that’s a great thing.
#7: You risk an incoming bite
Yet again, dogs are highly reactive beings. That attitude shows even in the middle of their sleep…
One can even say that dogs are mostly light sleepers.
Now, to you…
You might be that kind of person who stirs at night. You might kick, turn around, or slam your arm frequently…
So, put you and your dog together…
Oh, it doesn’t look good in this situation.
That’s because your movements could startle your dog.
That’s very dangerous.
By startling your dog, you might receive an unintentional bite.
I’ve talked about this previously in the article (under ‘Do dogs dream?’).
What I didn’t discuss was its name. It’s called social aggression.
And you might receive that because your actions caused you to overstep your dog’s limits.