Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?
Of course your dog is adorable, but does that mean your furry friend should be sleeping in your bed?
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The debate on whether or not your furry friends should be sharing your bed is a heated one in the pet-loving community. According to a national survey by SpotOn Virtual Fence, at least 50 percent of dog owners have their pets sleep in their beds. There’s now even a “human dog bed” for owners to snuggle up with their dogs. 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.
When you shouldn’t let your dog sleep in your bed
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.
Irith Bloom, certified dog behavior consultant and professional dog trainer, 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.
You may also want to consider hygiene and health before snuggling up next to man’s best friend. “There are some potential risks with sleeping with your dog. If your dog has a zoonotic disease, a disease that can spread from animal to human, you may be more likely to acquire the disease,” said Dr. Jessica Kirk, DVM. “Another issue some dog owners may see if they have pet allergies, is an increase in their allergy symptoms due to the close proximity they are while sleeping with their pet.” It’s not just hygiene you need to worry about. In some cases, your dog’s health may be in danger if you let your dog sleep in your bed. If your pet is severely arthritic or has back, neck or orthopedic pain, jumping on and off the bed could cause harm.
When it is OK to let your dog sleep in your bed
In the past, you may have heard rumors of this sleeping setup giving way to behavior issues with your dog down the road. Luckily, Steffi Trott, professional dog trainer and the owner and founder of SpiritDog Training, spoke to Reader’s Digest to set the record straight. “There is nothing inherently wrong with letting your dog sleep in the bed. It will neither have any negative behavior consequences nor will it make your dog “revolt” against you or try to become the leader of your pack,” Trott told Reader’s Digest. “In a group of dogs, there is no social order that determines sleeping habits. Everyone can sleep where they please.”
Letting your dog sleep in your bed can be a great bonding experience. In addition, a dog you trust can make you feel safer, quell anxiety, or just help you drift off to a peaceful sleep. So long as your dog is healthy, well-trained and isn’t waking you up frequently in the night, feel free to let your pup sleep where they like. Whether or not your pup even wants to be in your bed might just be one of the things your dog wishes you knew.
- Spot On Fence: “Nationwide Survey Reveals Dogs are More than “Man’s Best Friend””
- Derick Lengemann, VMD at Lakewood Veterinary Hospital
- Irith Bloom, certified dog behavior consultant and professional dog trainer
- Dr. Jessica Kirk, DVM
- Steffi Trott, professional dog trainer and the owner and founder of SpiritDog Training