Whether or not you let your canine companion sleep in your bed depends on your health and your relationship with your dog. Dominant-aggressive dogs can become threatening if allowed to sleep next to you and restless dogs can disturb your sleep. However, some people find sleeping next to their pooch relaxing. It may help the two of you bond, but only if pet allergies aren't an issue for you.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, between 15 and 30 percent of people in the United States suffer from pet allergies. Dogs shed microscopic dead skin cells called dander, which is the main cause of allergic reactions to them. If being around your pooch causes symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, nasal stuffiness or a rash, you probably have an allergy to him. At night, these symptoms could keep you up and disturb your sleep. For those with allergies to canines, even mild ones, you might want to keep Fido out of your bed and even out of your bedroom at night, recommends the Asthma Center.
A dominant-aggressive dog may claim your bed as part of his territory and defend it by growling or nipping at either you or your significant other when you try to settle in next to him. Prevent such situations by providing Fido with a bed of his own either in your bedroom or outside the room if he refuses to stop jumping onto your bed. Teach him the "Off" command to safely get him down from your bed when you find him there. Say the command and tempt him off the bed with the promise of tasty treats, then reward him with them when he's on the ground. Don't try to physically remove your dog from the bed, which could result in a bite, according to the Hilltop Animal Hospital.
A study performed by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that 53 percent of pet owners reported a nightly sleep disturbance caused by their furry friend, according to ScienceDaily. Some dogs sleep quietly throughout the night, while others toss, turn and even snore; large dogs may push you off the bed accidentally with their nighttime antics. If snuggle time with your pooch becomes unpleasant for you, provide him with a bed of his own. Of course, sometimes the presence of your pup in bed with you can help you to relax and fall asleep so don't shy away from keeping your pooch on the bed if his presence is comforting.
Place a towel or thin blanket over your regular bedding to protect it from a buildup of dog hair and dirt from your pooch lying on your bed; wash this frequently. Wipe your canine companion down with a damp cloth, especially his paws before bedtime to remove any dirt so it won't end up on your bedding. If you suffer from allergies and still want Fido to snuggle with you at night, ask your doctor about getting allergy shots so you can develop a tolerance to your dog's dander, recommends WebMD. Even if your pup disturbs your sleep, you still might want to cuddle with him if the disturbances are minor and they don't seem to bother you.
- WebMD: Pets in Your Bed
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Pet Allergies
- The Asthma Center: Pet Allergy
- The Whole Dog Journal: Letting Your Dog Sleep on Your Bed With You
- Hilltop Animal Hospital: Dominance Aggression in Dogs: Part 1
- ScienceDaily: Dog Tired? It Could Be Your Pooch
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Aggression in Dogs