If you have a dog that sleeps on your bed with you at night, you’re not alone. Nearly half of the dogs in the United States sleep in their owners’ beds.1 While you might enjoy having your dog sleep with you, you might be wondering if your dog feels the same way.
Well, it really depends on your dog. Some dogs love cuddling right next to or on top of their owners when they sleep. Others like to sleep at the foot of the bed. Then, there are some that prefer to sleep on their own.
You’re not supporting bad behavior if your dog consistently wants to sleep on your bed. It also doesn’t really mean your dog doesn’t like you if it chooses to sleep elsewhere. Dogs have varying sleep preferences and temperaments, and some can just be more independent than others.
Either way, the decision to co-sleep with your dog doesn’t typically have a negative impact on your dog’s behavior. If you take the time to weigh the pros and cons, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision on if you’d like your dog to sleep on your bed.
Click to skip ahead:
Pros of Dogs Sleeping With Their Owners
Many dog owners enjoy having their dogs sleep in their beds. Here are some reasons why it can be a great practice to co-sleep with your dog.
One of the most obvious things you’ll notice is increased warmth when your furry friend sleeps on your bed. While it may not be the most welcome feeling on hot summer nights, a warm companion can be the perfect solution for cold winters.
A 2021 study showed that cold temperatures affect sleep more than warm temperatures, and people had more difficulty falling asleep in cold temperatures especially during winter months.
2. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Having pets can help reduce anxiety as they can fulfill the human need for touch. Having your dog nearby to pet or hug while you fall asleep can help with calming you down and feeling relaxed, thus increasing your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
3. Increases Feelings of Safety
Dogs tend to be light sleepers, so they usually wake up at the slightest sounds made both inside and outside the house. Most dogs also won’t be shy about alerting you and waking you up if they feel disturbed or suspicious about a noise.
So, you can fall asleep knowing that someone has your back while you sleep, and this can enable a more restful sleep cycle for you.
Cons of Dogs Sleeping With Their Owners
While having your dog sleep on your bed sounds nice, you can also experience some drawbacks to this practice.
1. Sleep Disruptions
One of the most common issues of sleeping with dogs is experiencing sleep disruptions. Both dogs and humans can have their sleep disrupted if either one tends to move around a lot while sleeping.
Dogs and humans also have different sleep cycles. Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means that they have around three sleep-wake cycles per night. Humans are monophasic sleepers, which means that they have one sleep cycle per night.
So, if you’re a particularly light sleeper, you can end up waking up every time your dog’s sleep cycle ends in the middle of the night.
2. Trigger Allergies
Sleeping with your dog can trigger allergies as you’re spending prolonged time in close contact with your dog. This exposure can cause allergic reactions to pet dander and can also end up causing respiratory symptoms.
3. Perpetuate Unwanted Behaviors
Sometimes, co-sleeping can exacerbate unwanted behaviors, such as separation anxiety. A dog with separation anxiety may develop stronger attachments to its human, making it more difficult to solve the issue.
However, there are many times when these behavioral issues have already existed and co-sleeping just reinforces them. It’s difficult to say if co-sleeping directly causes unwanted behaviors.
After weighing the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your dog, you can decide if you’ll allow your dog to sleep on your bed or train it to sleep in its own bed or crate. Either option is fine and neither one really has a significantly negative impact on your dog’s wellbeing.
You can also just let your dog decide. Depending on its temperament and sleep preferences, it may choose to sleep on your bed or elsewhere. Regardless of its decision, you can rest assured in knowing that your dog still loves you even if it ends up not sleeping on your bed.