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Pros and Cons of Sharing a Bed with Your Dog

Should you share your bed with a dog?

Many people with dogs let them sleep in bed with them, but there are lots of people who don't think that's a good idea. Here are some of the pros and cons of sharing your bed with a dog for you to consider so you can make the right choice for your household.

Pros of Sleeping with a Dog

In general, interacting with and touching dogs helps people relax and feel calmer. It can release oxytocin, which is a hormone that promotes feelings of love and well-being. Sharing a bed with a dog can help relax some people and may even help them sleep better.

When you sleep with a dog, you might feel safer because you can trust your dog to hear any strange noises and alert you to them. People who live alone or have trouble feeling secure at night might sleep better knowing they can trust their dog to watch out for them.

Dogs from questionable backgrounds might bond better with their new owners if they're allowed to sleep in bed with them. It can help them feel like they're part of the pack and aid them in feeling secure in the family.

Never allow your dog to sleep with a baby. Babies who can't roll over, lift their heads, or otherwise move well on their own could be suffocated or injured by a dog sleeping with them.

Snuggling with dogs can feel super cozy for humans because they are warmer than we are. This can be especially nice in cooler climates or during cold weather.

Cons of Sleeping with a Dog

All those pros of sleeping with your dog sound great, but there are some cons to consider before you decide to go for it.

Sleeping with a dog can aggravate allergies or asthma in those susceptible to it. If you or your partner have allergies to dogs, not only should your dog not sleep in your bed, but the bedroom should be a pet-free zone. Sleeping in a room that has allergens spread throughout it can really worsen an allergic person's symptoms.

If your dog has any problems with dominance aggression, territorial aggression, or separation anxiety, sleeping in your bed is probably a bad idea. All of those issues can get worse if you allow your dog in your bed. For example, if your dog has dominance aggression, sleeping in your bed reinforces the idea that he deserves to be treated as dominant. You don't want to send that message because it can make dominance aggression escalate.

Having a dog in your bed may negatively affect your love life, so you will probably want to have a plan in place for keeping your dog out of the bedroom at certain times.

Along the same lines, both you and your partner need to agree about having the dog sleep with you. If one of you isn't for it, you shouldn't do it.

If you sleep with your dog, there will be more dirt and bacteria in your bed. Your dog runs through lots of things every day, and traces of all of it remain on his paws, belly, and tail. He can bring all that into your bed, along with bacteria-laden drool and even intestinal parasite eggs or external parasites like fleas and ticks that could be transmitted to you.

While some people sleep better with a dog because they feel calmer and more secure, others might have their sleep interrupted more. A dog can move around, snore, or otherwise cause disruptions to your rest.

Conclusions on Having Your Dog Sleep with You

Ultimately, whether or not you allow your dog to sleep with you is a decision that should be based on the individual circumstances of your home and your dog. However, there are a few things that everyone who decides to do it should keep in mind.

  • Train your dog to sleep alone first. Dogs are creatures of habit, so if you start a co-sleeping arrangement with yours, he will get used to it quite quickly. Then, if you need to change it for any reason, it can be hard for him to adjust to. It can help to train him to sleep in his own dog bed or a crate separately from you first. That might make it easier for him to revert back to that if the need arises.
  • Make sure your dog is housetrained before co-sleeping. It's a good idea to make sure your dog isn't going to have any accidents in your bed before you allow him to sleep with you.
  • Have your dog regularly checked for parasites and keep him on flea and tick preventative year-round. Take good care of your dog to decrease the chances that he will transmit parasites or other illnesses to you while you co-sleep (and other times too).

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