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  • Writer's pictureAmy Siracusa

My bed, Your bed or Our bed?

I'm sitting here ponding answers to some of my most FAQs and a list of commonly asked questions sent to me by a friend, with Paxton laying on the couch cuddled up against my legs. On this chilly day, it got me thinking that the best question to answer first was 'whether or not allowing your dog to sleep in the same bed as you is a good idea.'

There is a lot of debate as to whether or not a dog should be allowed to sleep in the same bed as you. I always have been a firm believer that it is up to the owner as to whether or not you want your dog in your bed. Some people do not want to snuggle up to their furry friends at night and some people cannot imagine not having that extra cuddle buddy.

There was a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2015 entitled The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment. This study looked to see if animals sleeping in the bed was conducive to sleep patterns in healthy adults. The study included 40 adults with dogs over 6 months old [1]. Without getting into all the nitty-gritty of the details the study found that both people and animals slept well together. However, when the dog's were on the floor in the bedroom it was found that people did sleep slightly better. Now to completely contradict myself, most of the people involved with the study did follow up to say that they did not find that sleeping with a pet in their bed disruptive.

With that being said other studies have demonstrated benefits to sleeping with animals, comparing it to co-sleeping with children [2]. One benefit is that co-sleeping "can increase the feelings of comfort and companionship“ [2]. It also provides extra comfort as you are sleeping as animals have rhythmic breathing patterns making it easier to drift off to sleep. Animals also provide a sense of security as they are typically lighter sleepers than most humans are [2]. (I know that I am always thankful when my dogs alert to a bump in the middle of the night!) In addition to added security while sleeping, it has been shown that co-sleeping with your pet can reduce blood pressure [3] and thus lower your risk of cadiocasulvar desease. Your pup in bed can even reduce insecurity related to loneliness [4], fight depression [5], and reduce anxiety [6] leaving you calmer and happier!

Leading back to my beginning statement, I am still leaving this position up to you. You now have some of the facts, but unless your dog has: a behavioral issue, training problem, you have allergies, a bad immune system, or are concerned about your dog getting into things at night — I do not see an issue with sharing the bed. Now many people have heard the urban myths that 'dogs must not sleep near you as that will cause the dog to become dominant over you.' But one has to keep in mind that dogs have been separated from wolves for thousands of years and therefore cannot be compared to them. Even with that being said, many wolves and wild canines will sleep in close proximity with each other leading to the myth being debunked.

If you'd like to read more, please see the links listed below.

Happy Training!







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