A debate which has rumbled on between pet owners since the beginning of time is whether we should allow our fury friends to sleep alongside us in bed. Those who support it suggest its helps them sleep, it strengthens their relationship with their pet and in some cases prefer it to sleeping next to another person.
Those against the idea argue it is largely unhygienic, it encourages bad behaviour in their pet and it is ultimately dangerous. Here at Sleepy People our first concern is making sure you have a great nights sleep every night and that’s why we have filtered fact from fiction to answer all of these points, and hopefully help you decide how to treat your pet when it comes to bed time.
Allergies and hygiene
A problem we have with bedding (pet owner or not) is that it is a heaven for things such as dust mites which carry all sorts of allergens. It is proven that 25% of all allergies and 50% of all asthmatic conditions are directly accountable to the allergens which house dust mites produce, a striking pair of statistics. Its for this reason anti-allergy pillows and duvets now exist.
When our pets go outside, their fur attracts all sorts of other allergens, so welcoming them into your bed can only heighten the potential risk of sparking a particular allergy or asthmatic problem. From a strictly well-being angle, if you suffer particularly badly from certain allergies, it is best you don’t share your bed with your furry friend.
Whether sleeping alongside you dog allows for a better night’s sleep is most likely an issue which comes down to personal preference. For example lifestyle writer and journalist Julia Stephenson earlier this year stated that she sleeps better with her dog than she does with other humans.
On the other side of this, plenty of us feel uncomfortable around the seeming unpredictability of sleeping with dogs. Its frustrating enough to sleep next to a person who snores or breaths heavily, so its no better sleeping next to a dog that does the same, or worse, is relentlessly flatulent.
There is also the unpredictability of a dog’s sleep pattern. According to Petcha, the average house dog sleeps between 12 and 14 hours a day. While this seems like a lot, its not fair to assume that your dog wants to spend 8 hours of that laid next to you. For all we know your dog does the majority of his/her sleeping whilst you’re at work, and maybe only has a couple of hours at night, thus disrupting yours when they feel like randomly getting up at night.
In fact, a study by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Centre in Florida found that 53 per cent of people who shared their beds with their pets said that the pet regularly disturbs their sleep.
Rather predictably this is something which should be judged on a dog by dog basis. The only thing which widely accepted is that a dog should first be trained to sleep in its own space and trained fully before it is allowed near your bed, regularly this should be after a couple of years of ownership.
Otherwise it is entirely dependent on the dog. Some people have great experiences because their dog is grateful and sees it as a treat, others see it as almost a promotion, leaving difficult situations where a dog may well defend one of the owners, whilst not letting his/her partner sleep in that bed along with them. If you are keen to allow your dog into the bed but are unsure of your dog’s attitude, it is something you need to approach with caution.
Because so much of this comes down to personal preference, it’s really a matter of how much you’d like you’d dog to stay in your bed, and whether it is entirely practical. You may have the most obedient, kind ad relaxed dog in the world, and if so then great, but for many this might not be the case. If this sounds more like you then it probably shouldn’t be a decision you rush into.