The thought of cuddling up to your pooch in bed might give you the warm and fuzzies, but in certain situations, letting your dog sleep in your bed could do you more harm than good.
Let’s start at the very beginning: those super cute puppy days. If there’s one type of dog you want snoozing on your duvet, it’s a tiny, baby one, right? Unfortunately, puppies really shouldn’t sleep on your bed, period. “A dog should not sleep in your bed until it is crate trained and potty trained,” says Derick Lengemann, VMD at Lakewood Veterinary Hospital, Mooresville, North Carolina. “Consistency is key to potting training. A puppy won’t go to the bathroom in its crate because it can’t get away from it and they like to be clean. But it can get off the bed and go on the floor. You don’t want to wake up to that. The puppy needs to first understand that the crate is a safe and happy place to reduce the risk of separation anxiety.” (Check out more dog facts you might not know.)
If you do let your dog sleep in your bed, it should always be on your terms. You’re the boss, remember! “It is imperative for a dog to understand that it needs to be asked to get on the bed and gets off when told by all parties that sleep in bed,” explains Lengemann. “This decreases possessiveness and possible related aggression.”
Indeed, if a dog is showing signs of aggression at all, that’s a big red flag for getting it off your bed, says Irith Bloom, certified dog behavior consultant and professional dog trainer. She advises her clients to keep their dogs out of their beds if they are doing any of the following: freezing, growling, snarling, snapping, digging or chewing the bed linen, or biting when being picked up off the bed. Only when those behaviors have stopped (after training) should you consider letting your dog back in your bed, says Bloom. Remember, there are more benefits to having a pet than having a bed buddy.
Lengemann also advises against letting your dog sleep in your bed when hygiene may be an issue. If a dog has zoonotic diseases or parasites (such as scabies, MRSA, ticks, etc.) it definitely shouldn’t be sharing your sleeping space. Nor should a dog sleep on your bed post-surgery, until the incision is completely healed. In some cases, your dog’s health may be in danger if you let it sleep in your bed. If it is severely arthritic or has back, neck or orthopedic pain, jumping on and off the bed could cause harm. If you are allergic to dogs, seek the advice of an allergist to determine best practice and options before letting your dog sleep in your bed.
Pets aside, here are more changes you can make to sleep better tonight.