When growing up, I never really thought about whether it was a good idea or not to sleep in the same bed as my 6lb maltese. He was like my stuffed animals, only cuter and warmer (although he had a bit of a snoring problem). Only recently have I begun to think about the pros and cons to this sleeping arrangement, and whether I should be forcing my dog into the bed I just bought him. Today we’re going to tell you some of the pros and cons of sharing your bed with your furry friends.
What are the Facts?
According to a recent survey of pet parents by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their parents’ beds. That’s 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs, and even 32% of large dogs.
But is that the right decision? My friends’ parents have recently begun letting their 60-pound dog sleep on the comfy chair next to their bed, but periodically she snuggles her way into their bed if one of them gets up in the middle of the night. Now the question becomes “should I kick my dog out?” Here is the pro-con list we came up with in regards to sleeping alongside your pet:
Mental and physical health improvement
People who suffer from PTSD have reported having fewer nightmares and higher quality of sleep. Having contact with your dog can also lead to lower blood pressure, decreased hypertension, and reduction of allergies for people who slept with pets during infancy.
Bonding between you and Your Dog
Sleeping with Your Dog can strengthen your bond and help make training easier. It’s a common myth that letting your pup sleep in your bed will cause them to develop separation anxiety, but if they already suffer from it sleeping in your bed might not help them.
Sleeping with your dog causes the brain to release oxytocin, which promotes brain waves associated with REM sleep and decreases stress and anxiety.
If you already suffer from pet allergies, it’s probably best to keep Your Dog sleeping in a separate spot. They can leave dander that causes greater and more frequent allergic reactions.
Flea or tick transmission
It’s a good idea to always check your pup for ticks, especially if you frequent wooded areas. This becomes paramount if you sleep with your dog, as the ticks that haven’t made their way into your dog could make their way into you.
Dogs stay alert throughout the night and are polyphasic sleepers, averaging about three sleep/wake cycles per hour. Humans, on the other hand, are monophasic, meaning we typically sleep once over a 24-hour day. Studies have shown that dog parents who share their bed with their dog report greater sleep disruption than those who didn’t.
At the end of the day (or in this case night), it’s up to what’s important to you. If you have allergies, it’s probably best to keep Your Dog off of the place you slumber. But if you and Your Dog are happy sleeping next to each other, there are a number of mental and physical health benefits that can lead to an improved quality of life.
Do you share a bed with your dog? Or do you find it disrupting? Share your comments below.