Should Dogs Sleep in Your Bed?8 December 2022
Written by Dr. David Tweedle, BVetMed MRCVS Clinical Director
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 8 Jun 2023
Sharing your bed with your pet is common with over 60 percent of dog owners doing it. But should doggy cuddles be off limits or can your pooch be welcomed in?
Letting your pup in your bedroom may actually help you rest better, according to a Mayo Clinic study. But before you change your house rules, research still warns to proceed with caution. We look at the positives and the negatives of having a snuggle doggy.
The good side:
Feel safe and relaxed
Dog owners claim the presence of their pup helps reduce stress and makes them feel safe. They also act as an early warning system since their sense of hearing and scent is stronger than ours.
Reduces depression and anxiety
Petting your furry pal raises levels of oxytocin in our bodies. Oxytocin, also known as the “happy hormone” increases the our feelings of relaxation, trust and psychological stability. All feelings that help beat insomnia.
Three dog night
The old maritime phrase was used because people used to gauge the temperature based on how many dogs were needed to keep the bed warm. And for good reason. Dogs body temperatures are three to six degrees higher than our own, so having a pup by your side keeps you warmer and cosier.
Keep the sniffles away
Snuggling with a dog early in life can reduce your chances of developing allergies later on.
Dogs love it
Dogs love the attention. And as pack animals, cuddles are part of their DNA. They receive the same comfort from you as you receive from them, so it is a woof-woof for everyone. And it does create a closer bond for both of you.
Sorry, we really don’t want to do this. But there is a flip side.
The not so good side:
Too much power
Some believe that giving your dog access to your bed gives them a dominant position in your house. However, dog behaviourist Nigel Reed, author of a new book, The Dog Guardian feels that:
sharing a bed with your dog is a personal choice that won't affect their behaviour as long as they know the bed is yours and you invite them up each time. Rather than allowing them to assume the bed (as well as other things) belong to them.
Keeps you up
According to the Mayo Clinic study, sleeping with a dog in the bed was linked to a slightly lower sleep efficiency of around 80%. That is only 3% lower than a dogless night but still points to sleep disturbances. And this is with just one pet. Multiple pets in bed equals more chance of being kept up at night. So proceed with caution if you have a small pack in your house.
Warnings of everything from ticks to the bubonic plague have spread the internet when discussions of dogs in bed have come up. However, Dave Cuff veterinary surgeon and owner of Cuffe vets says: “There is all sorts on nonsense talked about it being unhealthy. Sleeping with other people is possibly unhealthy, sleeping with a dog only necessitates normal hygiene.” But he didn’t rule out the occasional muddy paw mark or flee.
The verdict? Go ahead, get your cuddle on.
Keen for your dog to spend some time snuggling in their own bed? Check out our guide on best dog beds to buy for your pup!
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