Some people love it, and others hate it. Cuddling up with Fido is one of the best parts of your day, but just how far do you let it go? Does Fido rest comfortably in his own cozy dog bed at night, or does he nestle under the covers with you? People often have strong opinions on either side of the equation. What’s the right thing to do? Should you allow your dog to sleep with you?
Recent studies confirm that fewer than one-half of all families with dogs allow their pets to sleep in their beds with them. That’s a staggering confirmation that many people enjoy having their dogs near to them while they sleep at night, and in fact, there may be great benefits to choosing to do so.
A cursory review of the history of dog ownership reveals that humans sharing their beds with their dogs is not a recent development. There are a lot of cultures who have invited their dogs into their sleeping spaces for many years. To name but one, the Aborigines of Australia would often favor sleeping alongside their dogs for added warmth as well as to provide a safeguard from evil elements seeking to harm them.
The Pros of Sleeping With Your Dog
As with all decisions in life, there are pros and cons to be considered when it comes to inviting Fido to join you in your bed. Though there are some items that would fall on the con side, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of allowing Fido to cuddle with you under the covers.
Here is a list of the pros of choosing to sleep with your dog:
Provides a sense of comfort
For many dog owners, sleeping with their pets is the most relaxing time of the day. They look forward to Fido comfortably curling up in the crook of their knee or beside their heads. It can become such an ingrained and beloved habit that many owners find it difficult to sleep if they are separated from their pets for a business trip or even a vacation.
There is no doubt that time spent cuddling with our pets provides a great comfort to us. Whether we’ve had a rotten day or are just looking for a little “creature” comfort with our favorite canine friend, permitting Fido to climb under the covers with us provides us with a feeling of great contentment and satisfaction.
Touch is an important part of any relationship, and this is also true of our bond with our pets. When our dogs assume the role of sleeping in our beds, we are inviting them into one of the most intimate and vulnerable areas of our lives. This inherently helps to increase our bond with them.
Those who share the same space, by nature, become close not only in proximity but also in our hearts. It is but one way we can foster a deeper relationship with our beloved dogs.
Enhances the feeling of safety and security
Many people are light sleepers. Some are this way by design, but others sleep lightly for fear of danger. Though crime is a concern for every neighborhood and town, it generally does not affect most of us. This, however, does not mean that we are not afraid that one day it will touch our lives as well.
Since our dogs possess hearing which is far more acute than our own, they are able to detect subtle noises that might escape us. When Fido perks his head up or alert barks in the night, it is a help to us and can act as a warning that danger is near.
But on the flip side, sleeping side by side with a deeply slumbering Fido gives us a sense of well-being and ease. If Fido is comfortably resting through the night, we then can too because Fido is far more likely to sense danger before we are. This allows us to feel safe and secure, and thus, get a much better night’s sleep.
Keeps you warm
Dogs in the wild frequently huddled together to preserve warmth. After all, the cold was of great concern to a wild dog. They had to learn ways of keeping the cold at bay because failure to do so spelled certain death.
Though our dogs need not fear a lack of warmth in our homes, this instinct remains alive and well in them. Because of this, they like to nestle as closely as they can to us. This provides the added benefit of keeping us toasty warm too.
Increases the amount of time spent together
The bottom line is most of us would admit that we don’t get to spend nearly as much time with our dogs as we would like. By permitting Fido to make our bed his own, we increase the amount of time we spend together.
The Cons of Sleeping With Our Dogs
Dog owners who suffer from allergies to dander know how important it is to find relief. Choosing to sleep with our dogs equates to additional pet hair and dander accumulating in our beds. This means more frequent cleaning will be necessary to reduce the amount of unpleasant side effects as a result of allergies.
Increased possibility for disease transmission
Though highly unlikely, it is possible for diseases that are common to both dogs and humans to be transmitted more seamlessly when we share the same sleeping space.
Pests in the Bed
As your dog is often outdoors and with other dogs, there is a chance they could bring ticks, bed bugs or fleas into your bed.
Reduced sleep quality
Perhaps the most significant argument against sleeping with our dogs is that our sleep quality can be reduced. Since our pets frequently change position throughout the night, we are awakened more often. For some people, being awakened in the middle of the night makes it far more difficult to return to sleep. The more sleep disturbances we experience within an evening, the less rest we are able to get, making it more challenging for us to function in our work days.
Potential behavioral problems
Though it is likely more of a myth than fact, some people believe that allowing our dogs to sleep with us leads to dogs who forget their place and try to dominate us or other members of the household. If resource guarding becomes an issue for dogs who sleep in bed with their families, it is then time to give our dogs their own space for sleeping and to begin the process of training them to rest there exclusively.
If you enjoy sleeping with your dog, there is no need to stop! Any concerns from well-meaning friends and family are really unfounded, and for most of us, the pros far outweigh the cons.