Should dogs sleep in your bed?
What are the benefits?
Letting your dog sleep in your bed can strengthen your bond - Sleeping together lets your dog know that you are part of his pack! Some owners even report that their dogs are more obedient and respond more positively to training because of co-sleeping...
It can also reduce anxiety and increase feelings of security for both you and your dog. A dog's brain is wired to be alert to noises and dangers, even when he's sleeping. So it can be very comforting and reassuring to have your personal guard dog next to you in bed. His presence can also improve your mental health, just being around dogs can improve our well-being. Studies have shown that our brains release happy hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, when we are with our pups.
What are the drawbacks?
While it may seem like a good idea, sharing your bed with your furry friend is not all good. Studies have shown that people who sleep with their pets have more disturbed nights. Dogs have a polyphasic sleep rhythm while humans have a monophonic rhythm: we tend to sleep once in a 24-hour period while dogs tend to sleep 2 or 3 times in a 24-hour period. Also, because their brains are wired to hear alert sounds, they may disturb you more frequently if they wake up to an unfamiliar noise.
Second problem; sleeping with your dog can cause or worsen separation anxiety. It may be harder for him to get away from you or to be left alone in the house. If your dog already suffers from separation anxiety, co-sleeping may not improve the situation and may make each separation more painful.
Also, it's important to note that if you're not alone in your bed, it can disrupt your relationship. Dogs take up a lot of bed space, and in addition to literally getting in the middle of you and your partner, it can also reduce the emotional and intimate connection between you. Disrupted sleep can make you crankier and angrier, which can translate into trouble between you and your partner, and there's less room for cuddling, handshakes, and intimate contact between you at night.
Finally, sharing a bed with a dog can introduce more germs and bugs to your sheets. Their paws walk on the grass and streets during the day, and in addition to general bacteria, there is an increased risk of fleas, ticks and dust mites getting into your bed. This can also introduce allergens into your bed and bedroom. You may not be allergic to your dog, but if he has brought grass or pollen on his fur or paws and you suffer from hay fever, for example, you may be vulnerable to a reaction.
Ultimately, it's your decision to have your dog sleep in your bed. As long as the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for you and the person you share your bed with, dogs sleeping in the bed can be a very pleasant and beneficial experience.
However, never sleep with a dog that has aggression issues (even if it doesn't have a problem with you) or a dog that is not healthy or clean.