If you love to snuggle with your pooch during the night, you're not alone: almost 75 percent of pet owners surveyed by a pet nutrition company let their dogs sleep on the bed with them. Whether it's bad or good is up entirely up to you and your pooch — no two situations are similar.
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There will be pros and cons on either side, you'll just have to weigh them out and ask yourself which eventually comes out on top. One pro is obvious — it feels awesome to snuggle with your beloved pooch! Some possible cons, however, may not be quite so obvious. Below are a few to consider.
Sleeping with your dog can disrupt your own sleep
Sleeping with your pet might cause you to lose precious shut eye. Instead of sleeping soundly, some dogs growl, snore, playfully nip, frequently shift positions, howl, bark at minor noises, or even need to be taken out for a walk during the night. If you snore, talk in your sleep, have restless leg syndrome, or toss and turn, you might continually wake and/or startle your dog, causing it to yip or bark, yanking you out of the deep, restful sleep you need.
Sleeping with your dog can trigger your allergies
Spending the night with your pooch in such close proximity can trigger allergies in susceptible individuals. Allergies aren't caused by your dog's fur, but proteins in his urine, saliva, and flakes of skin, or dander. Dander is as small and light as dust particles, making it easily inhaled. It also clings to sheets, pillows, and blankets.
Allergy symptoms can include congestion, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, or asthma. If you're allergic to dogs, even a loving lick from your pet while you're sleeping can cause skin eruptions from the allergens in his saliva, such as rashes and hives.
Increased risk of disease from sleeping with your dog
An affectionate kiss from your dog during the night can lead to possible infections and disease. Diseases can come from bacteria the dog is carrying, or items she carries on her fur. If you have a small cut and it comes into contact with raccoon or squirrel feces on your dog's coat, for example, you can become infected.
Sleeping with a dog can also transfer fleas that increase the risk for contracting human plague. If you really want to let your dog sleep in your bed, consider putting it into a padded box or setting up some other type of divider to keep it out of physical contact with you. It might take a few nights to train your dog to this new situation.
Parasites can enter your bed
Dogs often carry parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and hookworms. Although they're usually transmitted by the dog's stool, it's possible for you to ingest them through a kiss or lick. Or, you might come into contact with fecal matter or worm eggs on his coat while snuggling with him in bed. If your dog needs obviously needs a bath, keep it out of your bed that night, or give it a good scrubbing before you go to bed.
Other things to consider when sleeping with your dog
If you roll over on top of a small dog, you can smother it. Dogs dream and can make noises or twitch as a response. Create a separate area in your bedroom for your pup to sleep in. A simple doggy bed can be constructed out of a soft blanket that's placed near your bed. If you're unable to resist sleeping with him, make sure he remains on top of your bed.
If you suffer from allergies, it's best not to allow him into your bedroom at all. Take your dog to a veterinarian for regular check-ups and to be dewormed, if necessary. Examine your pooch for fleas and ticks on a regular basis. You can also talk to an allergy specialist for humans to see what she recommends. You might be able to get tested for pet allergies.