The Pro’s & Con’s for Letting Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed

There are two camps in the battlefield of letting dog’s hang out in your bed, two completely different trains of thought and theories. Surprisingly, the pro’s AND con’s factions make convincing arguments for their side, there is evidence that builds cases on either answer to the question. In the end, it’s a personal preference or choice. Do you let your dog sleep in your bed with you? If you’re undecided, our Dog Blog of the week might sway you in one direction or another.

In the past 50 years the role of the dog has changed greatly in households across the world. In the 1970’s yards around the United States were filled with traditional dog houses & a lot of canines spent long hours hooked to outdoor leads or sequestered to corners of a single room inside a home where a makeshift bed was created from old blankets. Dog’s were pets, not family. They held the position of companion animals, unpaid protection, hunters or worker bee’s, and often were a secondary thought when it came to choices made for the family unit.

Roll forward, through the self-indulgent 1980’s, the “ME” generation’s self love and refusal to deny themselves anything, the creation and breeding of “designer dogs”, and the launch of the world wide web with it’s nonstop access and availability to information and pictures… people changed, the world got smaller, and pet’s often became the first proving ground of a young couples ability to change into a mature couple, ready to have human babies and start a family of their own. Dogs became a critical part of a family unit, holding a status equal to most human children. They were a beloved friend, the “son I always wanted and never had”, and a confident/budget therapist to hear all our woes, and a baby to dress up while you waited for the right time to have a child of your own. This was a huge promotion from dog houses and corner of the room stacks of blankets for a bed. This was mega-star status. The after thought that was dog ownership became an obsession with your fur child. We simply went gaga for our dogs!

Born from this dog revaluation, and revolution, was the inclusion of the dog into most major decisions for the household. “Dog Friendly” became an actual term we all embraced. The dog fashion and care industry was created and people wanted to “keep up with the Jones’s” when it came to feeding, dressing, and outfitting their pooch with only the finest. Dog’s took this nation by storm, and the storm grows larger and more fierce every year.

As dogs became mainstream, the were more ingrained into every day life in the home. Special dog dishes that were on raised platforms, and not on the floor, to help with digestion. Auto-feeders to assure continuous access to tasty treats, pet shoes to stop their pads and feet from burning on hot pavement, car seats for dogs, harnesses replaced collars, dog parks were created, even bars and eateries were build with the sole purpose of sharing your time with your puppy. Designer food were marketed, no more dry kibble and leftover table scraps for Skippy. The invention and explosion of pet specific department stores, pet hotels, grooming and washing centers, all dog access/all the time! What was a dog-eat-dog world of the past has become a dog dynasty in the making… and WE LOVE IT!

That bed in the corner of old blankets is almost an antique thought, it’s a relic from a generation where dog’s were seen but not beloved. Today’s dog has an unlimited park pass in the playground that is your dog friendly home. “They were here first” and “This is my dogs home” signs are on walls, desks, and doormats of a lot of homes, as dogs become equals in the living space. Furniture, once void of hairy hounds, are now “all access” to today’s liberated Labradors. Few rooms are off limits, your pal can even come in the bathroom with you if they need that moment of connection. The one place that seems to still be a battleground for contention is the bed. Should your dog sleep with you in the big comfy king sized world of your bedroom? Should they get equal billing to your spouse? Some say yes, I would let my kids sleep in my bed and the dog is family, too. Others say NO, there has to be one place in the home where I have domain and privacy to be me. Science says there are pro’s and con’s to both sides of this debate. Let’s look at breakdown of each…

The “Pro’s” to Letting Red Rover Sleep Over in Your Bed

Survey’s, completed by American homes with at least one dog, state that 60 to 75% of those households let their dog on the bed with them. The majority of dog friendly homes are in the pro camp, and here is why;

  • Sleeping Buddies & Official Studies – Studies done by real researchers and authorities (not your Grandma with the Chihuahua she carries everywhere) say that most humans reach over 80% sleep efficiency (R.E.M. sleep, or quality of sleep) when they have their best fur buddy snoozing with them. Dog’s are even higher on the sleep efficiency scale, with 85% reaching that level of rest.

  • RELAX… Just Do It – Being around your dog releases a rush of oxytocin (something called the “Love Hormone”). Your body feels better and your mood enhances when this chemical is in your body. Cuddling, the sense of closeness, the peace of having your dog near you increases the level of oxytocin in your body. It relaxes you and feel’s great to have your favorite furry sleep near right next to you.

  • The Bond that Ties – nothing makes that connection stronger between human and dog than sharing sleep time. When you sleep, you both are 100% vulnerable. So what activity could show build better trust and family bond than sleeping right next to each other? If neither of you wake up dead… then you know the love is real. Dog’s are also pack animals who share a common area, they sleep in piles or near each other. A night of napping with you instills the pack mentality in your dog.

  • Napping Hound Security at Work – What has four legs, a tail, and goes off the minute there is trouble? YOUR DOG! So having them within inches of you makes you feel safer and protected. The dog feels that way too. If they sleep with their back to you, it’s not an insult, “back to back” is the ultimate defense system in the canine world. They trust that you won’t shank, beat, or eat them during the night AND that you “have their back” against sneak attacks.

  • Dr. Dog PHD – When you’re depressed, lonely or anxious, what is better than the company of your critter? Your dog is the best medicine for a case of the down’s. It’s a fact that spending time with your fur kid, awake or asleep, is great for your mental health and mood.

  • A BLANKET of Fur Furnace – Dog’s are hot, hot, hot. Their bodies are natural heat emitting blankets of love. A dog’s core body temperature is considerably higher than a humans, so you get all the benefit of the extra warmth your pal puts out. It’s a win/win, as a dog has a harder time heating up, so they use your body heat (and the insulation of the blankets) to jump start their internal heater.

  • Happiness, is a Warm Dog, Yes it is – The Beatles has it right, except it’s a dog… not a gun. Your fuzzy baby already loves you, because YOU are everything in the world to them. Allowing them to sleep in your bed only confirms their belief that you are the coolest thing since the self filling water bowl. Sleeping with you just makes them happy, they hate to be without you. That… and YOUR bed is way more comfy than THEIR bed.

The “Con’s” to Turning your Bed into a Dog Hotel

Not everyone let’s their dog sleep in the bed next to them. 25 to 40% of the nation still believes in “separation of pooch and people” when it comes to bedtime. There are some medical reasons why keeping dogs off the mattress makes sense, and some personal bug-a-boo’s too;

  • Dog’s are Bed Hogs – It’s a known fact that a Teacup Poodle can take up the same amount of room as a Great Dane. We don’t know how that’s possible but anyone that has ever tried to sleep with a dog knows it’s similar to Sherman’s March to the Sea… the dog win’s every time. Clinging to 2” of bed, while Hoggy McBarkerson stretches out like they just won the lottery is annoying and sleep disturbing.

  • Is Your Name Otis… Cause You’re the Dogs Elevator – Dog’s get up and down all night. There are noises to investigate, pee’s to take, things to smell, food to gobble, and other rooms to stink up! If you have a small dog, old dog, pampered dog, or dog with a disability… you are their only means of getting in and out of the bed, so you’re going to sleep lightly and jump anytime you feel a stir next to you. If you have a dog that is able to get in and out by themselves, stairs or a ramp in place, you’re still subject to the positioning, repositioning, circling and dog gymnastics that come with getting comfortable.

  • Does Your Dog need C-PAP Machine? – Dog’s snore, sometimes louder than people. Small snout dogs are the worst because of their short noses and constricted airways. Overweight dogs, dogs with allergies, dogs with dental issues, dogs that are jerks by nature… they all snore. For some humans, the snore is “white noise” and they never hear it. For others, a dogs snore is the 5am weed wacker, chainsaw, and Harley-Davidson of your nightmares.

  • You’ve Been Served – Dog’s twitch, they move, they reposition, they roll, they dream, they are on the move more than a teenager on prom night! Again, if you are already a light sleeper, the movement of your dog at night will cause your to get even less sleep. Dog’s move by nature, not because they are being difficult. Before you invite Lassie to lay on the pillow, keep in mind that she might run a marathon or rescue Timmy from a well while she sleeps.

  • The Fur is Flying – If your dog drops fur like a bad habit, remember that most dog breeds shed twice a year. Long hair breeds lose hair every minute of every day. If your dog is in your bed, than your sleeping area become Ground Zero for hair loss. Think about your allergies going nuts and the antihistamine you’ll have to take. If your dog licks, you have wet spots, If they are dirty, you have stains and stinks. If they lay on pillows, those will flatten out. You’ll have to change sheets more often and your bedding will take a beating.

  • Hot Dog are Only Good in a Bun – As we stated before… dog’s are hot, hot, hot. If you heat up easily or can’t sleep if you’re overly heated then a dog is going to mess up your cool sleep routine. You also might end up with a “clinger” dog who has to touch you every minute of every night, or sleep up against you. You’ll be a sweaty mess and eventually have to hurt your fur buddies feelings when you relegate them to the “Floor League.”

  • What Time is the Set to Alarm Go Off? – It doesn’t matter, Hairy Houndini now controls the wake up time in your house. Having instant access to you means that your dog can wake you up just to say “HI” or to say “I pooped by your foot.” There is zero privacy any longer and even less R.E.M. sleep with “the Mad Creeper” wander on the sheets.

Just as a side note of some actual dangers that sleeping with your dog can bringfor some dogs, sleeping in the bed with you is simply not safe. Smaller dogs can be crushed by you rolling over on them, they can have a harmful or fatal fall off your bed, dogs can suffocate in the sheets. One would hope none of this would happen, but it has and can occur.  Having your pet in the bed can also ignite dormant allergies in both of you.  Fleas, ticks, parasites are all transferable to humans… so if your dog spends time outside, then so do you if you sleep in the same bed. Having that much contact and “face time” can also build separation anxiety in dogs. Too much of you can be a bad thing if you work or have to leave the house regularly. Dog’s can be territorial too, do you want to have a turf war over your bed OR do you want to alienate your human companion because the dog thinks they own you or the bed? Lastly, accidental rolls, punches, kicks, or an unknown attempt at suffocation could cause your best friend to bite you. You both would feel horrible if that happened.

A Well Placed Dog Bed can be a Savior

Your dog doesn’t have to sleep WITH you to be near you. Having a dog bed, or sleeping area, in your bedroom allows they to still feel that pack mentality without having to be all “up in your bizznace.” Ownership of their own space allows them control and comfort, while still being able to watch every move you make.

The folks at #FreddieSez are not advocating for either side of this debate, we feel that it’s your choice. You do You, and Your Dog Too! We just do the research and report the facts as we find them!

That will do it for this weeks Dog Blog. We have had blast with this topic and were able to find a great deal of credible information with a foundation in research, studies, and FACTS. It’s up to you to read and digest as you see fit. Us??? Well, we believe in an all access world for our dogs… so the bed is just  a hotel they can check in and out of as they please. You make the choice that benefits your lifestyle and approach to raising a fur baby.

Keep in mind that Fireworks are coming again for some towns right around Labor Day. Keep your special one’s safe and secure when the boom’s start. From all of us here in Freddie Central, we wish you joy, happiness, fur filled days and urge you to always Stay Dog Friendly! Talk to you next time, #FreddieSez!