Dogs can provide comradeship and companionship; whether you are just a pet lover, single or having issues with your relationship. Most dog owners share their beds with their dog. Is this actually healthy? Some veterinarians and dog trainers discourage this practice though. But who doesn’t want to snuggle with their dogs on some nights for companionship?
Research has shown that 42% of all dog owners, allow their dogs to sleep on their beds at night. Some of the reasons could be that; they provide more warmth on a cold night, they provide additional security especially for children who are afraid of the dark, it is a way of bonding between the dog, and it’s owner, they also provide protection from intruders. Reasons may also differ for different dog owners who allow their pets to share their bed.
Research has provided mixed opinions on whether your dog should share your bed. While some dog experts and veterinarians discourage it as earlier noted, others see nothing wrong in it.
Some of the reasons why dog experts and veterinarians discourage this action include;
1. Allowing your dog to sleep in your bed will create dominance issues. It may let your dog sense that you are not the leader of the pack, or it may let your dog become spoiled. While there is a link between bed-sharing and behavioural problems in dogs, it hasn’t been proven if the problems are as a result of bed-sharing, or if the issues lead to co-sleeping.
For example, some dogs may have separation anxiety, and this may cause them to want to sleep in the same bed as their owners. Also, dominance issues may make your dog begin to display aggression when it feels like it is protecting it’s sleeping spot on your bed.
2. Quality of sleep can also be affected. Studies have also reported high disturbances resulting in reduced quality of sleep for owners who let their dog share their bed, compared to owners who don’t.
Factors that can lead to this is the fact that dogs have three sleep/wake-up cycles per nighttime hour, while humans have one period of sleep over a 24hour cycle. Also, dogs are lighter sleepers compared to humans. They stay alert for sounds even while sleeping. Their frequent waking up causes disturbances for their owners and reduces sleep quality.
3. It can aggravate human allergies
4. There is a high risk of transmission of diseases from the dog to the human, or from the human to the dog. Although this is very rare.
If you have been getting disturbance as a result of co-sharing your bed with your dog, you will want to teach him to start sleeping somewhere else other than your bed. This process may be challenging since your dog is already used to sleeping on the bed, but repetitions over time will help. You can start by placing a bed for your dog on your bed.
After some weeks, you can place the bed on the floor. If he comes back to your bed, tell him no, and gently push him back to the floor. Another way is to keep him contained in a crate even in your room. You may also want to put him in another area of the house entirely. If you think the disturbances are worth the snuggle and companionship, then, by all means, share your bed with your dog.
Does your dog sleep on the same bed with you? How do you manage? Share your experience with us in the comments.