Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?

Who's the boss of the bed; you or your dog?
It's a question that divides pet owners, professional trainers and veterinarians - should dogs sleep in their owners' beds? So heated can this debate become that marriages have been broken over it and it continues to be a thorny subject no matter which side of the fence you take.

Currently the nation seems pretty evenly split on the matter, with 62% of small dog owners, 41% of medium dog owners and 32% of big dog owners allowing their pets to sleep in their beds.

So all things being equal, what are the pros and cons of allowing the family pet into the bedroom?

The Pros of Sharing Your Bed with Your Dog
Bonding. It can be a wonderful bonding experience for a pet and their owner to share a bed and a restful night's sleep together. Some people say obedience training and pet behavior markedly improve when they allow their dogs to sleep in their bed.

A dog without his own dog bed can develop anxieties
Calming. It has been shown that the presence of a pet during sleep reduces stress and anxiety in the owners and helps to lower blood pressure.
Security. Many owners say they feel safer having their dog there beside them.
Belonging. Single people have said that sleeping with their dog gives them a sense of belonging and doesn't make them feel alone.
Warmth. Nothing will keep you feeling quite so cozy and warm on a cold winter's night as your furry friend lying next to you.

The Cons of Sharing Your Bed with Your Dog
Allergies. The #1 reason against pets in the bed is allergies. This is a very real concern for anyone with respiratory problems or sensitive skin issues.
Disrupted Sleep. 53% of dog owners [Mayo Clinic survey] said their pets disturbed their sleep. Pets like to kick, scratch and move around in the night.
Laundry. Dirty paw prints and animal hair on the bed sheets means more laundry duty for you.
Health Issues. If a dog has fleas or parasites you'll be exposed to them if you share a bed.
Alpha Dog. Allowing a pet into the bed can break down the rules. A dog might assume it has the dominant role and can do whatever it pleases such as jump on all the other furniture.

A pet bed is a dog's 'happy place' where he can relax and feel comfortable
What Should You Do?
Ultimately the decision to allow Fido into the bed or not is up to you. Should you decide that it's cleaner and healthier not to have your pooch in the bed then buy them a dog bed of their own. Dogs need a personal place - their den - and a dog bed is the most highly recommended solution.

However, if you do decide to share your bed it's important you maintain the 'Alpha' status in the household. Only allow your dog to sleep in a certain spot on the bed (usually at your feet) and make sure they only get onto the bed at your invitation and get off it immediately at your command. Keep the rules consistent to avoid confusion.

Sweet dreams!
By John Bone
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