Does your dog sleep on the bed with you? Whether it’s quietly by your feet, stretched out in the middle snoring away, or above your head on your pillow, there are many pros and cons when it comes to allowing your dog to sleep on your bed with you.
Did You Know?
According to a survey by the Dogs Trust:
47% of UK dog owners sleep with their dog on the bed.
55% of first dog owners share a bed with their dog.
We’ve all been there; you don’t want to leave your adorable little puppy alone, especially when it’s crying at night. Perhaps you stay strong and stick to the rule: ‘The dog doesn’t sleep in the bed!’ How long did that rule last in your home? There are many reasons why puppies should sleep alone in their crate. which we'll discuss later. When your dog is fully grown, however, there are many reasons why they should or shouldn't be allowed to sleep with you.
Makes you (and them) feel safe. - Having your dog on your bed, particularly if sleeping alone, can actually improve sleep quality as it heightens your sense of security and allows you to relax and settle into sleep. In a survey of 962 women, study participants who slept with a dog in bed reported sleeping more soundly and feeling more secure than those who slept with a human partner or a cat.
Extra Cosy. Some dogs aren’t cuddlers, but if you’re lucky and your dog loves nothing more than cosying up to you, there aren’t many better cuddly hot water bottles out there. Handy too with the rising prices of gas in the home!
Building a bond. Dogs are pack animals, and you’re part of their pack. Allowing your dog to sleep on the bed with you can strengthen the bond between you.
Cleanliness. This one is pretty obvious, but having your dog sleep on your bed can mean a lot of washing is required! Not only could they drag in some dirt from outside, but have you ever looked at your bed and been shocked by how much dog hair there is? (Before jumping in and nodding off to sleep…)?
Anxiety. Sadly, due to the pandemic there has been an increase in dogs suffering with separation anxiety. Allowing your dog to sleep on your bed and not encouraging a healthy period of separation could worsen any separation anxiety your dog is experiencing.
Quality of sleep. Although in some cases having your dog on your bed can improve quality of sleep, it can also do the opposite. If your dog is big and takes up room, or snores or perhaps moves a lot, this can result in broken sleep for you. Both you and your dog need your sleep, however dogs often have the luxury of daytime naps where you may not.
How long do dogs sleep in a day?
Where the recommended average sleep time for humans is around 8 hours, a dog can wrack up a lot more! Puppies sleep for an average of around 11 hours a day, less at night than an adult dog but with regular naps throughout the day. An adult dog can total anywhere from 8 to 13 hours of sleep a day, sleeping for up to 80% of the hours between 8pm and 8am.
So, Where should my dog sleep?
If not on your bed, you can help your dog sleep well at night by creating a space they want to go to. Here are a few tips to helping your dog sleep better at night.
Routine. Dogs like routine! They know that when you walk through the door from work at 6pm it’s dinner time, or when you wake up and come through to them in the morning it’s time to go outside for a morning pee. Keeping to a similar schedule each day can help your dog relax and know when it’s bedtime.
Sleeping by themselves. As we mentioned above, having your dog on your bed can result in a broken sleep for you but this is also true for your dog. If you move in your sleep or get up, it will alert your dog and they will likely wake up too. This results in a poorer quality of sleep for both of you.
Comfort. This is of course obvious; your dog wants somewhere comfy to sleep. As well as something soft and warm, they also want somewhere with familiar smells such as their regular blankets or cuddly toys.
Where should my puppy sleep?
Puppies should sleep in their own crate or bed. One of the benefits of a crate over an open bed is that it creates a safe space for them. You can also cover the create with a blanket to create a darker and cosier space that they like, and it also prevents the puppy from wondering around at night and getting themselves into trouble. It can of course be tough; hearing a puppy cry from their crate is never fun, but it’s worth it in the long run. Having this time of separation can help your dog grow up to be more independent and lessen the chances of separation anxiety developing.