6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed
There’s nothing like waking up to a cuddly fur ball.
He doesn’t need coffee before he shows you how happy he is to see you; a lick to the face is a better way to wake up than the incessant buzzing of an alarm clock; and puppy breath beats morning breath, paws down. But even though you may love sleeping with your dog in your queen-sized bed, you may be putting your health at risk and that’ll cause plenty of sleepless nights.
I understand that many people have been sleeping comfortably with their dogs for years and claim to never have had a problem, physically for them nor behaviorally for their dogs. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, almost half of pet owners sleep with their dogs. Personally, I like my space when getting in my beauty sleep (plus, I’m a light sleeper), so Oscar was trained to spend the night in his crate.
But before you allow your dog onto the bed (especially if he’s still a puppy), there are a few things to consider as you snuggle in.
If there’s a canine form of restless leg syndrome I swear that Oscar has it. It’s not unusual to get an unexpected kick from his hind leg. And dogs can toss and turn or “talk” in their sleep. All of these habits can interrupt your sleep cycle, resulting in crankiness, lowering your immune system response, and decreasing alertness during the day.
You may not be allergic to your dog, but all dogs carry allergens. Every time your dog goes outside for a pee break or out for a walk, he’s exposed to a number of allergens, such as pollen and dust. They stick in his fur or on his paws, follow him to your bed, and cause your allergies to go haywire. Stuffy noses and sneezing does not make for a good night’s sleep.
House Training Accidents
Have you ever had to steam clean your mattress? Let me tell you, there’s nothing fun or inexpensive about it. It’s a lot easier to throw a dog bed or cover into the wash than it is regular bedding. And if your bed doesn’t have a rubber sheet covering the mattress, there’s a good chance you may get some leakage.
Does your dog growl at your partner when he or she comes to bed? It may be because he thinks he’s protecting you in this vulnerable position. The bed can become the dog’s territory, and anyone who’s unwanted—in his eyes—won’t be welcome in his domain.
There are many dogs that need a job to do… even at night. Oscar, my 10 lbs Shih Tzu mix, is a furry little watch dog. His crate is situated right by the stairs, so he can alert me if he hears anything suspicious. This task gives him purpose—he loves to keep our house safe. The Shih Tzu breed, back in ancient times, was used as a watch dog in Tibetan monasteries, and this instinct is still active in Oscar. By keeping Oscar in my bed, I’m neglecting his natural instincts to watch our home.
It’s hard for a dog to go back to sleeping in a crate or on the floor once he’s had a taste of the bed. And who can blame him—he had a comfy mattress, a pillow to rest his head on and his favorite human by his side. If you go back to crate training, be prepared for sleepless nights, as your pooch will probably keep you up with whining and crying.