This is a common question I get asked from new dog walking and pet sitting clients. Even the seasoned dog owner who is now an empty-nester will ask, “is it Ok if my dog sleeps in bed with me?”
As a pet sitter and from the standpoint of training the dog, I always tell my clients that they should create a set of expectations and remain consistent in upholding them. Meaning, you can’t have the husband letting the dog on the couch and the wife deciding that’s a no-no.
When it comes to the question of, “should I let my dog on the furniture” I always err on the side of caution. I inform my clients that they must make the decision and stick to it, otherwise, allowing their dog up sometimes can be confusing and difficult for the dog. It should be a simple yes, they are allowed up or no, they are not.
Doing some research on whether dogs should be allowed to sleep in bed versus not proved to be pretty divided. I cannot scientifically conclude either way but rather will give you 5 reasons why it can be great, and 5 reasons why it can be not so great.
Reason Why They Should Sleep with You
1) They’re warm
While we’re not so much thinking about warmth during the summer time, I know that from fall through early summer up here in New England, I love a great snuggle with my 60-pound heater. My dogs frequently pre-warm my spot for me before getting in bed and it’s a wonderful benefit!
2) I feel safe with them
Ever heard a bump in the night? Well, I have a hearing breed Boxers, and they typically hear the strange noise first and alert me to it. I know that if I open the bedroom door, I have a 3 dog wall of support so it’s very comforting.
3) They make you happy
Science has proven that touching pets releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle chemical”. This increase in the neurotransmitting hormone reduces our anxiety, builds our trust, and can help reduce depression.
4) It makes them happy
The same effects we experience with brain chemistry and trust building happen with our hounds. They feel safe and happy on our beds, near us or if they’re like my dogs – touching us.
5) They make us relax
A dog’s warmth and rhythmic breathing can not only be relaxing but has been proven to help us fall asleep. They’re like having a warm sound machine to lull you off to dreamland.
Reasons Why They Shouldn’t Sleep with You
1) They can be a hazard to your health
Particularly if you have allergies to their dander, fur, and saliva. Sleeping cuddled up to your canine companion can cause quite the conundrum.
2) They take up space in the bed
As much as I adore my dogs, they not only start off in my spot but sometimes I do need to readjust their position during the middle of the night. They’ll drape themselves over my legs causing my feet to fall asleep. Trying to move a sleeping dog is no easy task. A 60-pound dog suddenly weighs 400-pounds!
3) They disrupt sleep
Whether they heard a bump in the night, get up and down off the bed or crush your legs, sometimes sleeping with dogs in your bed can be very disruptive. As my husband frequently states, sleeping with three dogs in our bed is akin to sleeping next to a bad of elbows!
4) They’re dirty
I have a pretty “wash and wear” breed of dog but even they manage to bring dirt from outside into our bed. Not to mention their little needle hairs. We have separate blankets for them but somehow they always manage to end up lying on ours and leaving behind some part of the back yard.
5) They’re hot
While I admitted earlier that their warm presence was a pleasure when it’s cold – it’s quite the opposite when it’s hot. Not much is worse than waking up sweating from having a warm canine beast curled up around your legs or over your neck.
Even though I have lost plenty of sleep thanks to my dogs, I still choose to allow them in my bed. I don’t have a valid reason other than both parties seem pretty happy with the arrangement. As a pet sitter, I’ll even allow client dogs in my bed when they stay over. I’ll admit that I got a better night’s sleep when the Shipoo stayed over and not the 80-pound black Lab, but we love and enjoy their company.
It’s up to you to set the rules in the house. As long as no harm is done to either you or the dog, you can invite them up, or let a sleeping dog lie.
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— Pro Pet Hero (@ProPetHero) September 14, 2017