I really love reading through pet posts on Facebook. Normally they bring up my mood when I am feeling down, and this Christmas season I really needed something uplifting. Unfortunately, Facebook only added frustration to my already depressed mood. The post completely condemned having your dogs sleep in bed with you. I don’t know about you, but my dogs sleep with me every night- winter, spring, summer, and fall! I absolutely love having my dogs in bed with me! There are so many more benefits to having your dog in bed than there are risks.
Many people claim dogs are their family, in our house it doesn’t ring any truer. Our dogs are included in everything and bedtime isn’t any different. We even upgraded to a king size bed just to accommodate the large three golden retrievers that share it. They have their choices though. Besides the bed we have two dog beds. Throughout the night they switch constantly between our bed, their beds, and the floor. Each of our golden babies has their favorite places. Khaleesi sleeps primarily on the bed while Thor and Salem prefer the cooler floor, but once my husband leaves for work (at 5am…ugh) all three wind up in the bed sprawled out and snoring!
Myths Surrounding Sleeping With Your Dogs
Surprisingly less than half on American dog owners allow their dogs in their beds. Everyone has their own reasons for banning co-sleeping, but some are based on myths so let’s clear some of those up. Co-sleeping will not make your dog feel dominant. One way dogs show affection is with snuggles. Wild canines sleep cuddled up together even the Alpha! Lower ranking dogs get permission to snuggle from the alpha just like your dog gets permission from you. Therefore, welcoming your pooch in your bed for some cuddle time will not make him feel more dominant.
Behavioral issues are also not caused by having your dog sleep with you. Behavior issues arise from everyday interactions and stressors. If your dog is expressing dominant behavior or any other behavioral issue, there is something more going on and it my be time to seek a behaviorist’s help.
Risks to Sleeping with Your Dog
Having your dog in bed with you is definitely not recommended for those with allergies. In fact it is not recommended to have them in your room at all as it can exacerbate the condition.
There are some diseases that can be contracted from your dog. However, the risk is lowered if your dog is properly vetted. Most of the risk in the United States comes from fleas, ticks, or contagious fungal infections. These are issues that you will be at risk of contracting any time you’re in contact with your dog, not only while in bed cuddling. Your vet should be consulted at any sign of disease.
Quality of Sleep
People have one sleep cycle where dogs have multiple. This means they get up often and move around which can be disturbing to their sleeping human. Our dogs will get on and off the bed throughout the night. I am a deep sleeper and rarely notice their movements. My husband, however, does get too hot when they are cuddled up next to him and will wake up and kick everyone out of the bed. However, according to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, evidence suggests that sleeping with either the dog in your bed or in your room doesn’t impact sleep as much as previously thought.
Benefits to Sleeping with Your Dog
The benefits far outweigh the risks to both you and your dog. For people sleeping with your dog lowers depression and anxiety while increasing feelings of safety, comfort, security, and companionship. Sharing a bed with your dog has been found to increase the level of oxytocin in your brain. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone since it is released when a person falls in love but it also has been proven to promote theta brainwaves which are associated with deep relaxation. A 2015 article in Sleep Review also reported sleeping with your dog can reduce nightmares and help with sleep disorders.
One of the best benefits to sleeping with your dog, in my opinion, is that they are hands down the BEST bed warmers! It’s natural for them to sleep with their pack and even though you’re sleeping it is great bonding time and we already spend enough time away from our doggos. In stead of locking them out invite them in even if it’s just for a short period of time.