Health & Wellness Rocky's Road
To Sleep or Not to Sleep with Your Dog: Experts Weigh In
Do you sleep with your dog?! This may surprise some people, but I do not sleep with my dogs. And that in no way is an indication of how much I love them! This is not how it’s always been, or necessarily how it will always be in the future, but it’s how my household is for the time being. We have clear set boundaries for these reasons:
1. The number of dogs we have
there is no way we could comfortably fit 4 dogs in our bed! Kobe’s size alone would make that a challenge.
When you combine him and Zoey (who is 10 pounds), someone is bound to get squished and a midnight scuffle would surely ensue.
Then there’s Flip.
If you have ever seen a boxer sleeping, you know that once they hit that deep sleep they start running and howling as if they’re chasing a tennis ball through the air!
Currently we are fostering Tulip, and she is by far the loudest snoring dog I have EVER had. I thought Flip was a loud snorer, but Tulip blows him out of the water!
2. We have small children
We are raising our kids to love and have compassion for all animals, however they are both still so young. Capri is 2 and Crue can’t even crawl! So for now, it’s safest to keep them completely separated.
We only let one dog around our kids at a time and it is completely supervised. The reason why we do this is because if there are 2 dogs around, they might start playing with each other, and that could easily knock over or into one of our kids.
Flip is really great at reading the room and understanding the situation. Kobe is a gentle giant, but since he’s blind his mannerisms are different and it just increases the odds of something unintentionally happening.
While our kids don’t sleep in bed with us either, our dogs have a clear understanding of what rooms they are allowed in, where their sleep area is and that also gives them comfort and a safe place to retreat to when they want alone time.
3. My health
If I don’t get enough good sleep, I struggle to take on the day ahead so I really prioritize it. Some people could argue the opposite, they might find a lot of comfort in having a pet sleep next to them. The extra heat and steady heartbeat could provide comfort and a feeling of safety. This could be really beneficial for someone going through PTSD, insomnia or other sleep related issues.
Who knows, in the future when my kids are older, I may sleep better with a little fluff ball next to me.
Would you sleep in a human dog bed?
There’s a new furniture trend that’s setting out to let us do just that! A company called Plufl has started making the ultimate dog lover’s furniture: human-sized dog beds! This giant dog bed for humans looks and feels just like your dog’s cozy, comfortable bed…but better. Find out more: Would You Sleep in Human Dog Bed?
What does science say?
As pet ownership rates have risen in recent years, so has the debate around whether or not it is appropriate to share a bed with your furry friends. While some pet owners can’t imagine sleeping without their beloved pets by their side, others worry about the impact on sleep quality and hygiene.
Here, we explore the pros and cons of sleeping in the same bed with your dogs, based on expert opinions and scientific studies.
- For many pet owners, the primary advantage of sharing a bed with their dogs is the companionship and comfort it provides. According to Dr. Anna C. Wise, a veterinarian and owner of Integrative Pet Care in Chicago, “sleeping with a dog can provide comfort and companionship, which can lead to lower stress levels and better sleep.” Many pet owners find that snuggling up with their dogs at night can provide a sense of security and relaxation that helps them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
2. In addition to the emotional benefits, sharing a bed with your dog can also strengthen the bond between pet and owner. Dr. Karen Becker, a holistic veterinarian and author of “The Ultimate Pet Health Guide,” notes that “sharing the bed can help create a sense of closeness and intimacy.”
3. Sleeping with your dog might even relieve pain, according to some studies (see more below)
While sleeping with your dog can have emotional benefits, it can also pose risks to both the pet and the owner.
1. One of the primary concerns is hygiene. Dogs can bring dirt, bacteria, and allergens into the bed, which can affect sleep quality and increase the risk of infection or illness. “Sleeping with a dog can also exacerbate allergies or asthma symptoms,” warns Dr. Huntingford.
2. Another potential downside of sharing a bed with your dog is sleep disruptions. Dogs are active at night and may snore, bark, or move around, which can disrupt sleep for both the pet and their owner. “If the dog is not well-behaved, they may also try to dominate the bed, making it difficult for their owner to get a good night’s rest,” says Dr. Wise.
3. There are concerns that sleeping with your dog can reinforce bad habits, such as separation anxiety, aggression, or territorial behavior. “Dogs can become overly dependent on their owners and may become possessive or jealous,” cautions Dr. Becker.
4. Sharing a bed with your dog can be a cozy experience, but for those with allergies, it may not be the best idea. If you are allergic to your furry friend, having them sleep in your bed can result in the shedding of dander in a confined space where you spend six to eight hours a night. However, don’t let allergies keep you from enjoying the companionship of a dog. Here are some tips on how to live with a dog, even if you have allergies.
Several studies have explored the effects of sleeping with dogs.
“The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment,” looked at the effect of having a dog in the bedroom on sleep quality, rather than specifically sharing a bed with a dog.
It was conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center and was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2017.
This study involved 40 healthy adults and their dogs wearing activity trackers to measure sleep patterns over a period of seven nights. The results showed that having a dog in the bedroom did not necessarily affect sleep quality, but having a dog in the bed did lead to less overall sleep efficiency. The researchers suggested that having a separate sleeping space for the dog, such as a dog bed on the floor, may be a better option for promoting better sleep for both the dog and the owner.
University of Alberta conducted research that was published in the journal “Sleep Health” in 2018 on the health effects of sharing a bed with pets, including dogs.
Researchers surveyed 150 patients who were seeking treatment for sleep disorders. The study found that 41% of the patients reported having pets, and of those, 20% reported sleeping with their pets. The study also found that patients who slept with their pets in the bed reported better sleep quality and felt more secure at night.
However, researchers also cautioned that sleeping with pets can pose health risks, particularly for people with weakened immune systems or allergies. The researchers recommended that pet owners take precautions to maintain good hygiene and cleanliness in the bedroom, such as washing bedding regularly and keeping pets off pillows and face.
In a recent study published in the journal Social Sciences, researchers found that individuals suffering from long-term chronic pain and associated sleep problems reported overwhelmingly positive effects from sleeping with their dogs.
According to the study’s author, Cary Brown, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta, the companionship and cuddles from their furry friends acted as a distraction, helping to ease their worries and promote relaxation.
Participants also reported an increase in overall well-being and a reduction in the feelings of loneliness commonly experienced by those with chronic diseases. These findings suggest that sleeping with pets can have a positive impact on individuals with chronic pain and sleep issues.
A 2018 study published in Anthrozoös 2018 v.31 no.6 pp. 727-740 found that “sleeping with dogs in the bed does not appear to affect human sleep quality negatively.” However, the study also noted that “bedding should be washed regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt, dust, and allergens.”
Another study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior in 2017 found that “dogs who slept on their owner’s bed were more likely to display attention-seeking behavior than dogs who slept elsewhere.” The study concluded that “sleeping arrangements can have an impact on canine behavior and may need to be considered when treating behavioral issues.”
Is it safe to sleep with your dog in the bed?
Generally, it is safe to sleep with your dog in the bed, but there are some potential health risks, such as allergies or infections, that should be considered.
Can sharing a bed with your dog improve sleep quality?
Many pet owners find that sleeping with their dogs can provide a sense of comfort and security that helps them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Are there any downsides to sleeping with your dog?
Yes, there are some potential downsides, such as hygiene concerns, sleep disruptions, and reinforcing bad habits in your dog.
Can sleeping with your dog cause allergies or asthma symptoms?
Yes, sleeping with a dog can exacerbate allergies or asthma symptoms for some people.
How can you maintain good hygiene when sleeping with your dog?
To maintain good hygiene, it is important to wash bedding regularly and keep your pet off pillows and face.
Can sleeping with your dog cause behavioral issues in your pet?
There is a risk that sleeping with your dog can reinforce bad habits, such as separation anxiety, aggression, or territorial behavior.
Should you sleep with your dog if you have a weakened immune system?
People with weakened immune systems should consult with their healthcare provider before deciding whether or not to share a bed with their pets.
Can sleeping with your dog help to strengthen the bond between pet and owner?
Yes, sharing a bed with your dog can create a sense of closeness and intimacy that can strengthen the bond between pet and owner.
Do dogs benefit from sleeping in the same bed as their owners?
Dogs can benefit from sleeping in the same bed as their owners, as it can provide comfort and security for them as well.
What should you do if your dog is not well-behaved in bed?
If your dog is not well-behaved in bed, it may be best to avoid sharing a bed and instead provide a separate sleeping space for your pet.
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