As a dog parent you’ll have many difficult decisions to make regarding pet care and how to raise your friendly canine companion. One of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make is if you’d like to share your bed with your dog. While this might seem like a simple ‘yes or no’ decision to many dog parents, it isn’t so straightforward. Although the choice is entirely yours, there are many things to learn and consider before making this choice. While this argument has been widely debated for a long time, much of the evidence used for both sides of the argument has been debunked in recent years. In this article, we’ll cover the real pros and cons of sharing a bed with your dog and how to do so safely.
There are many benefits of sharing a bed with your dog including benefits to mental health, improved sleep and general comfort.
Mental Health: While it might not seem ideal for everyone, most parents share every aspect of their life with their dog. Think about it – you take your dog walking, tell them stories about your day, make food with them, relax watching films with them, so why would you not want to share a bed with them? For many people, sleeping in the same bed as their dog provides a sense of comfort, warmth and reduces feelings of loneliness. Many studies have shown that mental health can be significantly improved by the positive feelings caused by sharing a bed with your dog.
Improve Sleep: Sharing a bed with your dog has been proven to improve sleep and has helped treat sleep disorders, such as insomnia, for many dog parents. This is widely believed to be caused by the increased sense of comfort, protection and safety which dogs provide. When you share a bed with your dog, they act just like giant hot water bottle – provided your dog is big, otherwise it might seem like a regular-sized hot water bottle. This warmth provides comfort and can help many dog parents drift off to sleep when they’d otherwise have difficulty. Since some dogs act a bit like guard dogs, letting their owners know when other people are around or if something isn’t right, it’s clear to see why many pupper parents like the idea of sharing a bed with their dog. Feeling safe and protected is essential for some people to sleep well so a dog might just do the trick.
Comfort and Personal Choice: Other than improving sleep and benefiting mental health, some dog parents simply like spending time with their dog and can sleep through whatever noises or disruptions their pup causes. By sharing a bed with your dog, you can improve your relationship as parent and pup. Since dogs feel most vulnerable during sleep it means your dog trusts you entirely and feels safe around you. Dogs are also natural pack animals so sleeping in the same space proves you’re part of a pack and have a shared trust in each other’s company.
While the pros seem convincing enough to most pet parents, there are a few cons you should be aware of. Some aren’t as bad as others but they’re certainly worth knowing before you make you decision and invite your adorable doggo into the bedroom.
Puppy Problems: Firstly, it’s generally advised that you don’t let a pup sleep in your bed for a few reasons. Most importantly, pups are prone to ‘accidents’, especially during the toilet training stage, so you might not want to be woken up by any accidental urination. Pups also need to be trained thoroughly so they grow up independently and without being overly dependent on their parents. If they don’t learn to sleep in their dog bed at a young age they won’t want to when they grow up. By the time your Retriever puppy has grown into an adult, they’ll take up half the space in your bed and by that point there’s no chance they’ll go back to a dog bed, no matter how comfortable it is.
Light Sleeper: While sharing a bed with your dog has the potential to be enjoyable for you both, it isn’t always as lovely as it sounds. Unlike us, dogs don’t typically sleep for a full 7 to 9-hour period. They can be startled during the night or simply wake for water or food which can cause some problems if you’re a light sleeper or if your dog is particularly active during the night.
Marital Problems: It might seem a little too far or exaggerated but it is surprisingly common for dogs to cause marital problems if your dog shares a bed with you and your partner. If there’s barely any space for you and your partner to cuddle, sharing a bed with your pet can cause some serious intimacy issues. This can be worsened if your partner isn’t keen on the idea of sharing a bed with your precious pooch in the first place. So, before letting your pup sleep in the same bed, check that it’s okay with your partner first and ensure you two can manage some alone time without your dog around.
Sharing a bed with your dog has been discouraged for a long time by some vets and medical professionals because it was deemed unsafe or unhealthy. While this holds true in some cases, it doesn’t apply to most healthy dogs and their owners. If you or your dog become ill then it’s advised that you sleep apart to avoid spreading or worsening the condition. However, if you both have good health and are up to date with vaccines then this certainly isn’t a problem.
Ultimately, sharing a bed with your dog has some pretty significant pros and not many cons for the average person. By introducing your dog to the bed in adulthood and after learning that they’re not too active during the night, you can be sure you’ll have a great night’s sleep with your canine companion by your side.