First of all, in the interest of full disclosure I need to let you know that, yes, my dogs sleep in my bed with me. That’s right…I said it! Both of my dogs sleep in my bed!
Sorry, I’m not sorry!
Ok…now that we’ve got that out of the way and you know which way I lean on the subject, I am going to do my best to write an objective piece and make an argument for both sides of this issue.
Why Does My Dog Sleep With Me?
Because I like it! I like cuddling with my dogs. I like feeling them leaning up against me. I like when one curls up in a ball in between my legs and the other curls up in a ball between my side and my armpit.
Apparently, I’m not alone. According to recent surveys, nearly half of all dog owners are just like me. For women, this is even higher as nearly 60% allow their dog to sleep with them. Why? Well, we allow our dogs to sleep in bed with us for a variety of reasons.
Some say it is psychologically comforting. You love your dog and you know your dog unconditionally loves you back. Having your dog lay close to you makes you feel loved and can help eliminate any feelings of insecurity or loneliness.
For others, the sense of security speaks less to psychology and more to actual physical security. Generally, dogs are flexible sleepers and are ready to jump at any change to the environment or unusual sound that could indicate hostility or an intrusion.
There is even a group of people who prefer for their dog to sleep with them in order to help keep them warm. Ever heard of the saying “it’s a three dog night?” Take a moment to ponder the origin and meaning of that statement.
Speaking for myself, my dogs don’t sleep in bed with me to keep me warm or to keep me safe. My dogs sleep in bed with me because to me, they are part of the family. I just like it that way!
By the way, most dogs like it that way too! By nature, dogs are pack animals. As such, they are genetically predisposed to cuddling and sleeping in groups. Cuddling with you, curling up with you, or leaning up against you is just one of the ways your dog is letting you know that they love you. You are part of their pack.
Remember, your dog may just be a part of your world, but to them, you are their entire world!
Should I Let My Dog Sleep In My Bed?
Personal preferences aside, I can’t help but think about the statement “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
Here is where the issue becomes a little less subjective and a little more black and white.
Although I do allow my dogs to sleep with me, I will concede that there are certain circumstances that exist where I would agree that allowing your dog to sleep with you may be less than ideal:
- When your partner or spouse is opposed to the idea – The presence of your dog in the bed should never be a point of contention or controversy between you and your partner. As small as it may seem, arguments such as this one can cause emotional strain and deepening resentment. When enough of these little things build up, it could pose problems for your relationship.
- If it poses a safety risk to your dog – Whether you own a small bed, a bed that sits high off of the ground, or you are a hard or restless sleeper, all three of these scenarios could pose a safety risk to your dog. Falling from, or being knocked off of the bed can cause soft tissue damage and cause jams to the neck and shoulders of your dog. You could also inadvertently roll over on your dog, which cause injury, or even worse, suffocation.
- When you are crate-training or potty-training – Until your dog is house-broken and able to sleep through the entire night, allowing them to sleep with you is not a great idea. Your dog may not be able to hold it and use your bed as toilet. Not only is it gross to have pee or poop on your bedding, but it also poses health risks.
- When you witness aggressive behavior on the bed – Some dogs will view there presence on the bed as their God-given right and take on the Alpha characteristics. They see the bed as their domain and will therefore protect it. This could be dangerous for small children or house guests who come near the bed. They may get a nip, or even a bite if they come too close to the bed
- When it disturbs your own sleep pattern – Recent sleep studies have shown that over half of the subjects who had issues sleeping, admitted to allowing their pets to sleep in bed with them. Moreover, they admitted that their sleep had been disturbed in some way shape or form by their dog such as snoring, passing gas, inability to adjust the covers, or having the dog leaning up against them causing an inability to roll over or change positions comfortably and without waking from their sleep.
Yah, But Is It Unhealthy To Let My Dog Sleep In My Bed?
This topic is really where the rubber meets the road for most people. You can’t argue with science, but I am going to restate my position before I get into this.
I don’t really care! I allow my dogs to sleep in bed with me, and I like it!
Detractors say that when it comes to allowing your dog (or any pet for that matter) sleep in bed with you that it is disgusting and poses serious health risks.
In addition to to all of the energy, excitement and cuteness that your dog brings to your home, there are other things that come along as part of the package:
- Your dogs feet are disgusting – Most of us would not climb into our bed after walking around outside on our bare feet, but that’s exactly what we allow our pets to do. When you consider everything that your pet steps in or on while walking around outside, they are tracking in all kinds of fecal matter, and other microscopic parasites like salmonella, E Coli, and a host of others. When they jump into your bed, guess what you are now rolling around in all night long?
- Fleas, Ticks & Mites – As the title of this page suggests, “Lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” Unless your dog is on a flea & tick preventative this is a real concern. Your dogs fur provides excellent cover for these pesky insects, but whats more, ticks can transmit extremely contagious diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. Fleas can transmit the Bubonic Plague to humans, and mites can cause human scabies, which is highly contagious among people. What’s especially concerning about these critters is that your pet can carry these insects without showing any signs or symptoms of any of the diseases they can transmit.
- Parasites – Without proper treatment and care, dogs can be a haven for parasites such as roundworms and hookworms. These nasty little culprits deposit their eggs in your pets fur, which is easily transferred to the very sheets on which you sleep.
Most, if not all of these can be eliminated or mitigated with a regular Veterinary care routine.
Authorities from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) do admit that although it is possible for humans to contract diseases from any of the above causes, it is relatively rare to get any of them from sleeping with your dog or other pet.
So There You Have It
I acknowledge and admit that all of the things mentioned by the detractors do exist and are a possibility. I have done my very best to objectively lay out both sides of the argument with this
post and ultimately, leave the decision up to you.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. My dogs sleep in my bed with me, because I like it, and…
…sorry, I’m not sorry!