Sleeping With Your Dogs by Frankie Wallace |Published 12-21-2021
Many dog owners consider their furry friends to be an integral part of the family. As such, it’s not uncommon for Fido to share your sleeping space.
You might love the comfort and warmth of your dog sleeping next to you, but have you ever considered the benefits and drawbacks?
If you’re already sleeping with your pet, it’s important to know how it could be impacting your health – in positive or negative ways. If you’ve been on the fence about letting your dog share your bed, this article might convince you one way or another.
So, should you let your dog hop into bed with you? Let’s cover the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.
Multiple studies have shown the mental health benefits associated with owning a dog. Simply petting a dog can reduce your stress levels and help you to feel calm. Those mental health benefits absolutely carry over when it comes to sleeping with your canine companion.
If you already struggle with mental health conditions, including depression, you might feel fatigued throughout the day. Unfortunately, that fatigue may cause you to want to sleep more. But, because it’s a vicious cycle, your depression might make it hard to get the rest you need.
Sleeping with your dog can put your mind and body into a more relaxed state. They’ll also provide you with comfort and security, which can help if you deal with fear or anxiety.
Loneliness has become a huge problem over the last couple of years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, it can lead to a slew of mental health issues. Having your dog share a bed with you is a great way to fight loneliness and keep you from feeling isolated at night.
When you get better sleep (thanks to your pooch!), you’ll feel more awake and alert during the day, which can improve your energy, your mood, and your overall mental well-being.
While sleeping with your dog can provide many mental health benefits, it could cause some issues to your physical health if you have allergies or respiratory issues. If you already sleep with your dog, think about how you feel when you wake up. Do you have any of the following?
If so, you might be allergic to your four-legged friend. You might already know you have allergies, but you’re able to manage them during the day.
Spending time in the same house as your dog is different from sleeping with them by your side. When you’re breathing in pet dander all night, it could wreak havoc on your allergy issues.
Even if you don’t have allergies or any underlying conditions, your dog can transfer things to your bed that you probably don’t want, including:
By keeping your dog clean and healthy, you can reduce the risk of anything creepy or crawly ending up in your bed. But, keep in mind that it’s never 100% preventable.
There isn’t a lot of solid evidence one way or another that suggests sleeping with a dog affects your quality of rest. But, if you’re someone who struggles with insomnia or has a hard time getting to sleep, the security and warmth provided by a dog can help you get the rest you need.
It’s especially helpful to set up a nighttime routine for both you and your dog, so you both know it’s time to wind down and rest. Going through a routine can improve your overall sleep hygiene, and put your mind in the right state to “decompress”.
Of course, if you travel a lot or have to be away from your dog for any reason, using them for this benefit could end up being harder on both of you. Not only will it be more difficult for you to sleep without your companion, but the change in routine could trigger separation anxiety in them. If you want to ease the effects of separation anxiety, try:
You can also help yourself by carrying a picture of your dog with you and checking in frequently with whoever is watching them. Keep the rest of your nighttime routine as normal as possible. You might not get the same quality sleep, so that’s something to consider if you’re frequently on the road.
In the end, whether you choose to sleep with your dog is completely a personal choice. Weigh out the pros and cons to determine what’s best for your situation. They need rest just as much as you do, so make sure whatever you decide gives you both the opportunity to sleep soundly night after night.
Frankie Wallace is a frequent contributor to Small Dog Place. She is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. If her spirit animal could be anything, it would be a beagle--inquisitive, and always searching for food.