Does your dog sleep in bed with you? If your furry friend is allowed to stay in the bed for the night, you are not alone.
According to a survey sponsored by SpotOn Virtual Smart Fence, 50 percent of dog owners say their dog sleeps in a family member's bed.1
Solid arguments can be made for and against letting your dog sleep in your bed. The truth is it depends on several factors.
There have been many studies about the health benefits of owning a pet.
For example, petting a dog can help calm a person and lower blood pressure. Meanwhile, listening to the sound of your dog’s gentle rhythmic breathing and heartbeat can also lower your heart rate, which has been associated with less stress and better heart health.2
Additionally, sleeping with your dog may ease anxiety and offer a sense of safety and security.
But this calming effect doesn’t only happen when a person is awake. It occurs when someone is asleep too. This information could offer a compelling argument for taking your dog to bed with you!3
While research has shown that humans experience health benefits as a result of bonds with their pets, it also shows the same thing for dogs.
A study conducted in Australia indicated that not only do both human and canine heart rates decrease when a dog and human are together, but their heart rhythms actually synchronize. This study was part of a larger campaign by Pedigree Australia called Pet Positives, which explored the many ways animals improve humans’ quality of life. 4 & 5
The simple act of petting your dog naturally increases the brain’s level of oxytocin - a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter and plays an important role in relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. 6
Oxytocin has been found to positively affect several areas of life including:7
- General psychological stability
- Reduced stress
- Decreasing anxiety
In addition to keeping your bed warm, letting your dog sleep in bed with you can also be a positive influence on your mental and physical health. Having your pooch to snuggle up to can increase feelings of security, decrease loneliness, and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Just as there are reasons to let your dog sleep in bed with you, there are arguments that can be made for the opposing side.
These days, everyone is struggling to balance work, family, friendships, and self-care. So, we all need as much sleep as we can get.
If you struggle to get a quality night’s sleep, you might want to let Fido sleep separately.
A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center revealed 53 percent of pet owners said that their sleep was disrupted by their pets nightly.8
We love our furry best friends, regardless of whether they snore, drool, bark, or hog the bed. However, anyone who has ever slept with their pet can attest to the fact that night after night, some doggie behaviors can often disrupt sleep.
Ultimately, consistent sleep deprivation can cause health issues.9
Parasites are one reason some experts warn against sharing your bed with your dog.
Although modern flea and tick preventative medications are usually effective, it is still possible that a flea or tick could hitch a ride on your dog and make its way into your bed.
Since pet dander can aggravate allergies, people who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other breathing issues might want to start with the dog sleeping in the other room.
Dr. Kunjana Mavunda, a pediatric pulmonologist, shared the following regarding pets and sleeping in the same bedding as their pet parent(s).
"Even if a person has no allergies to pet dander, if they choose to sleep with a pet, it will be prudent to get special protective mattress and pillow covers with zippers that completely cover the mattress and pillow,” Mavunda said. 10
People who are undergoing treatment for cancer, MS, HIV, or a variety of other illnesses may opt to sleep separately from the dog for a variety of reasons.
Anyone fighting an illness needs all the quality sleep they can get. There is also a concern for cleanliness, particularly if someone is receiving treatments through a port or IV line leading into a vein.
Your dog’s size: Some small dogs, such as purse and pint-sized breeds, could risk injury if they get tangled in the bedding. Even worse- they could get rolled on during the night.
Your dog’s age: Older dogs can develop painful arthritis, which often makes it more difficult to jump up on the bed. Additionally, jumping off the bed puts added stress on their joints.
Puppies learn best with routines. You may choose to have your pup sleep with you as he gets older, but as a youngster, he should learn to spend the night in a crate. This will prevent unwanted chewing and destruction around the home, not to mention accidental messes in your bed.
There is no one correct answer. Whether or not you choose to share your bed with your dog depends on how you sleep, your health, your dog’s health, and what works best in your home.
Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves. Get your free quote today.