Your dog loves being with you, so there's no question they'll try to follow you into the bed at night. Should you let them? Research shows co-sleeping with your pooch could be good for both of you, but there's just as much evidence stating that your dog really shouldn't sleep with you. If you have trouble saying "No" to those big puppy dog eyes, these six big reasons might make you rethink your dog's sleeping situation.
Why Your Dog Shouldn't Sleep With You
Unfortunately, having your pup in the bed isn't all rainbows and sunshine. There are several reasons not to let your dog sleep in your bed, including the fact that it might not be good for your health or your sleep cycle.
1. It Can Result in Poor Sleep
Studies reveal that co-sleeping with a dog can lead to reductions in sleep quality because of the number of nighttime disruptions dogs create. Unlike humans, dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means they sleep for short bursts throughout the day and night (kind of like naps). That's why they get up so many times throughout the night.
All that on-the-bed, then off-the-bed nonsense can wake you up. Not to mention your dog's circling and digging to find the perfect sleeping spot, which can also disrupt your sleep pattern. If you aren't able to address these sleep disturbances, they can add up to a poor night's sleep.
This isn't true for everyone, because some people sleep better with their dogs than without them.
2. It Could Increase Your Allergies or Asthma
Even if you're not allergic to dogs, having your dog in bed can exacerbate your other allergies. Think about what your dog brings into bed with you. Your dog runs through bushes, rolls around in the grass, and inevitably picks up tons of pollen. These allergens end up in your bed sheets, and you breathe them in for eight hours every night.
Wiping your dog down with a pet wipe before bedtime can help reduce the number of allergens in your bedding.
3. There's a Risk of Getting Parasites
There are several parasites that humans can get from dogs, including fleas, ticks, and worms. Humans aren't ideal hosts for these creepy crawlies, but it is possible to get them if your dog is infected.
4. Your Dog Could Get Injured
If you have a small, young, or fragile dog, sleeping somewhere else might be safer for them. I've seen broken legs in puppies brought into the vet clinic who jumped off the bed in the middle of the night, or who were injured after an owner rolled onto their dog while asleep. It's uncommon, but it can happen.
5. It Could Impact Your Relationship With Your Partner
We're just going to say it. Dogs in the bed can act as a bit of a romance blocker. If you're not able to cuddle up to your partner at night, it could negatively affect your relationship.
6. They Might Get Territorial
There are theories that letting your dog sleep with you takes away your status as the "alpha" dog, but there's not much concrete evidence to support this. Letting your dog sleep in your bed won't make them aggressive or act more dominant. But dogs can get jealous, so if you introduce a new partner or pet to your bed, your dog could become territorial if they're used to having half of the bed.
Why Co-Sleeping With Your Dog Could Be Beneficial
Because we love playing Devil's advocate, here are few arguments for why your dog should be allowed to curl up next to you at night.
- Having your dog in bed can strengthen your special bond.
- It could actually give you a better night's sleep.
- They can function as a built-in bedroom security system.
- Sleeping with them can relieve anxiety and insomnia.
- It provides your dog with emotional support.
- It feels good to cuddle with your best buddy before bed.
To Co-Sleep or Not to Co-Sleep With Your Dog?
Should you let your dog sleep in your bed with you? It's really up to you to weigh the pros and cons. Whichever route you choose, it's important to be consistent. Dogs are creatures of habit who thrive on routine, so if they know what to expect at bedtime, they will be happy either way.