According to the American Pet Products Association, about half of dogs sleep in bed with their owners.
While many people enjoying slumber with their pooch, some wonder about its safety. Before you let your dog hop up on the bed, here are a few questions to ask:
Is It Healthy?
Allergies come in a variety of sizes. If you already have a dog, odds are that you do not have severe allergies, but mild ones still may exist. The most common symptoms of pet allergies are sneezing and coughing as a result of post-nasal drip. Other less common and lesser-known reactions to dander include bags under the eyes, frequent awakening at night and a dull, arthritis-like ache in the joints. If you have any of these symptoms, consult an allergist and begin weaning your dog from the bed. A good HEPA vacuuming of your mattress after the sheets are washed will also help to lessen allergy symptoms.
Is It Comfortable?
If the answer is yes, then cuddle away. Having a warm body next to you at night, even if it is canine, can be a source of comfort. But don’t sacrifice your own restful sleep for your pet. Some conditions can make it nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep when sharing your bed with your pooch.
Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve gets compressed, causing pain that runs down the leg. It can be exacerbated when you lay in one position too long or are not able to move or sleep on your side comfortably. Dogs can also have sciatica, and sleeping with you may cause your pet pain. If you experience any discomfort or suspect that your dog does, invest in a good dog bed to ensure a good rest for you both.
To help with the transition of training your dog to sleep in his own bed, place one of your unwashed articles of clothing in his or her bed to provide a sense of safety.
Is It Psychologically Sound?
Sleeping with your dog may be part of your DNA. According to evolutionary psychologists, from the time that we domesticated our canine partners, we have been sleeping close to them for protection. The social nature of both dogs and humans makes it logical that we would seek the protection of the pack. This instinct can cause an issue if your dog does not respect you as the alpha, though. To be able to sleep with your pet, he or she needs to understand that you are the leader of your environment.
Reinforce the idea that you are in charge by using light-blocking drapery. As you pull the drapes down at night and then pull them away in the morning light, your dog will learn that you are in control of the sleeping schedule.
If you choose to bring your dog up into the bed, these additional tips can ensure a more restful experience:
- Make sure he is clean and free of any dirt or debris that may soil your bedding.
- Give your dog the opportunity to go outside to go potty right before you go to bed, ensuring that he won’t have the urge to get up in the middle of the night.
- Offer your dog plenty of water at mealtime and up to an hour before bed, but discourage drinking any more water closer to bedtime.