Should You Sleep With Your Dog? The Pros and Cons of Sharing the Bed
"Petting one of my dogs was almost like a way I'd calm myself down and fall asleep," says Sallan, a writer and radio host in California. But then he met and married Debbie, who had a dog of her own but suffered from allergies and liked her furniture free of dirt and hair. She was adamant: "No dogs in bed."
"He would have his dog on the bed and there would be dog hair on my pillow and I'd be sneezing," Debbie tells Paw Nation. The solution? She spent several hundred dollars on plush beds for all three dogs and ultimately, everyone was happy.
Some pet owners may be sheepish to admit it, but Sallan is far from alone. A 2007 survey of more than 2,500 pet owners by the American Pet Products Association found 43 percent of dogs slept in a person's bed at night, a steady increase from 34 percent a decade ago.
So is there anything wrong with pets in the bed? Like Bruce and Debbie, vets and animal trainers have strong opinions on the subject.
Sleeping in the same bed has strong emotional benefits for you and your pooch.
1. It's comforting to both the owners and the animals. The company of pets have been proven to lower blood pressure, stress and reduce feelings of loneliness. According to veterinarian Ira Roth, director of the Community Practice Clinic at University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, having them close to you at night only magnifies those benefits, whether the animal is at the foot of the bed or under the covers.
Illinois dog owner Jamie Hand agrees with that assessment. "Rocky likes to cuddle, and he always has to be right next to me," Hand tells Paw Nation, referring to her Jack Russell Terrier mix who is very content sleeping in his owner's bed. "If I roll away from him, he scoots over so he's right next to my torso again. This doesn't disrupt my sleep at all. In fact, it's quite comforting to feel him snuggling up against me."
2. It can deepen the bond between dog and owner. New York City dog trainer Sarah Westcott, owner of Doggie Academy, always gave her dogs their own beds. But then she adopted Hank, a lab who kept to himself.
"Out of the blue one day, I put him in bed and he curled up next to me," Westcott says. Everything changed after that. "Whatever he's doing, even when he's a hyper maniac, if I invite him in bed he settles right down."