Sleeping With Dogs – Is it Good For You?
If you have a dog, you understand why you enjoy sleeping with your dog in your bed. It’s heartbreaking to leave your four-legged furry friend when going to work, and you don’t want to tell them to go away – it’s a normal human emotion.
But should you let your dog sleep with you? It can present some challenges. Some dogs are disruptive or messy and can interfere with your night of rest. Is it worth sacrificing your schedule and overall peace and tranquility for sleeping with your dog?
Could sleeping with dogs, or other pets, be hazardous to health? Or could it have health benefits? There are a lot of questions about the topic.
Don’t worry, though! It’s easy to determine if sleeping with your dog in your bed is suitable for you. And if your canine is a troublesome bedmate, there are ways of getting around this, too.
Should You Allow Your Dog to Sleep With You?
Before we discuss how to approach sleeping with your dog, let’s determine whether co-sleeping with your dog is right for you.
What are some reasons why letting your dog sleep in your bed might be a bad idea?
You Are a Light Sleeper
Some pet owners are light sleepers. It can take a while for a dog to get used to sleeping soundly without disturbing others, and this is more challenging for some dogs/pets than for others.
If you wake easily, sleeping with your pet might not be the smart choice. You can’t sacrifice sleep, no matter how much you love your dog/cat/pet. Doing so could be detrimental to your health.
Your Dog is Not Housebroken
Most dog owners know that if your dog is not housebroken, you should not invite them into your bed.
Midnight accidents could be a frequent occurrence. The last thing you want to do is have to buy new bed sheets every few days.
You Have Allergies
Finally, if you suffer from any of the common allergies or are allergic to your dog, you may not want to allow them into your bed. It can cause excessive irritation and affect sleep quality.
You should always prioritize your health as well as your pet’s when making these decisions. Allergies can make sleeping together more challenging.
Best Ways to Get Adequate Sleep with Your Dog in Your Bed
If none of the above applies, how should you go about allowing your dog to co-sleep with you in comfort?
The Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in the United States and other research and study organizations offer some suggestions based on various study subjects such as dogs and human mental health, benefits of humans co-sleeping with dogs, sleep quality of pet owners who share their bed with their pets, better rest for humans and pets, etc.
1. Train Your Dog to Have Manners
Having a well-trained pet is helpful in most situations, including when sleeping with a dog. A well-behaved dog is less likely to disrupt your comfort while you are sleeping. The result is that both you and your pup can get better sleep.
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It is vital to train your pet to seek permission before doing anything. This training benefits them and will keep them from feeling entitled to do whatever they want. More significantly, it will keep them from engaging in un-approved behaviors.
Many people believe that one way to build this habit is to have your pet sit and wait a moment before engaging in any activity. You should train the animal to wait before:
- Eating their food
- Going outside
- Jumping onto the bed
Teach your dog to wait for your approval before doing something they need permission to do. It will significantly improve their behavior.
Other basic training rudiments, such as sitting, staying, lying down, and rolling over, will help with their overall obedience.
2. No Toys in Bed!
If you want to share a bed, this rule is a good one to enforce. It will keep your pup from being excitable when it’s time to go to sleep.
A good idea to help your dog relax at bedtime is to make sure there isn’t anything around in the bedroom that can distract and excite them when sleeping next to you.
Therefore, make sure never to allow a dog to have toys on the bed where you sleep together. You want your pet to know that whenever they are in the bed, it is not playtime.
Owners need to establish boundaries to distinguish bedtime from playtime to help pets get accustomed to sleeping in a place that is not for play.
It’s also crucial not to overstimulate your dog at nighttime. If you are having a restless night, try to resist the temptation to play with your pet. The playtime will undermine the training involved in getting the dog to associate certain times and places with going to bed.
Also, it can be helpful to avoid any exciting play or exercise with your dog near bedtime. The end of the day should be for winding down, relaxing, and preparing for bed.
3. Establish a Routine
Ensuring that you can get a good night’s sleep with your dog/cat sleeping next to you means you need to get it used to a sleep schedule and stick to it. You want to establish a daily routine and let your dog get accustomed to it naturally – the benefits are immense.
Setting a regular bedtime for your dog (and for yourself) also helps its sleep cycle. If you can get your pet used to this routine, they will feel tired and end up naturally falling asleep when you want. That way, you won’t have to worry about any late-night restlessness.
The flipside of this coin is just as vital. You also have to get your dog accustomed to waking up at the same time each day. This schedule ensures that they get enough hours awake during the day to actually feel tired at night when it’s time to go to bed.
This routine might take some time to establish. However, the work will be worth the wait when it leads to natural, comfortable sleep for you and your dog.
A final tip: take your dog outside to use the bathroom every night before bed. It will reduce the likelihood of nighttime accidents, and the dog will also see it as a part of the routine. They will know that it means it’s time for bed.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to your dog sleeping with you, actually, it can take a bit of work to get a decent sleep with your dog by your side in the bedroom, but the benefits are worth it in the end. Sweet dreams!