Should your dog sleep with you? New research by me says yes, definitely! You don’t want your dog to think you’re a monster, do you?! I realize there is a lot of debate on this subject. Here’s where I’m at with it.
When we first had Rebel and Wrigley we swore never to let them sleep with us. We also swore to never give them people food. Then the dog trainer at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society suggested giving hot dogs as dog treats and that whole no people food rule was out the window.
We were pretty good about not letting Rebel and Wrigley sleep with us. Rules are rules, right? Not exactly. After a while I did let Wrigley in the bed.
I would go to bed at a normal time every night and my husband would stay up late. As a police officer he often worked overnight so he’d stay up to keep on his work schedule.
For whatever reason, Wrigley would be in the bedroom with me and Rebel would stay up with Carter. This seems weird looking back on it because Rebel was more my bud and Wrigley was more Carter’s.
Just as I’d start to fall asleep, Wrigley would nudge the bed and I’d invite him up. Then I’d play dumb every time Carter would ask if I knew Wrigley was in bed when he came into the room. I’d play it off like Wrigley must have jumped in bed after I’d fallen asleep. Poker face.
This went on forever. I’d start to fall asleep. Wrigley would nudge the bed. I’d invite him up. Then I’d play dumb.
In fact, even after Wrigley passed away, I’d feel a nudge at the bed during the night. Then I’d feel something hop on the bed.
At first it startled me because it would wake me up. I’d be convinced someone was in the room and I was about to be murdered. Then I realized it had to be Wrigley. Dogs can have ghosts, right?!
It hasn’t happened in years. But, as I was typing this part I heard the bedroom door open. Then I heard the dog gate move. So I feel like Wrigley (and probably Rebel too) are trying to let me know they’re here.. Now that you know I’m completely insane…
When Wrigley passed away we spent three days in bed with Rebel crying our eyes out. When Rebel passed away we immediately changed our rule on having dogs in the bed. From that day forward, Caesar has slept with us. We even bought a king size bed to make more room for our 95 pound lap dog.
If Carter and I are both in the bed, Caesar wants to spread out like a 500 pound starfish and touch all corners of the bed. But as soon as Carter’s alarm goes off in the morning, Caesar will curl up on Carter’s pillow like he’s a five pound Chihuahua.
We have just started to attempt to let Dixie sleep with us. I say “attempt” because she doesn’t share a love of sleep that the rest of us do. If anyone moves in the middle of the night she thinks it’s time to get up and play!
We’re just starting to let her sleep with us on weekend nights when we don’t need to get up too early. And so far, we’ve put her back in her kennel whenever one of us has gotten up go use the bathroom because she just doesn’t want to be sleeping once she thinks we’re getting up.
Caesar doesn’t always want to sleep with us and we respect it. If he would rather sleep on the couch or in his room (yes he has his own room) then we are cool with that. We don’t pressure him to sleep with us.
Let’s talk about the good and bad parts of sharing a bed with your dog, shall we.
Dogs steal the covers. I don’t know how Caesar does it but he is able to take up a bunch of covers without really moving. They all get sucked up underneath him somehow. It’s like the greatest magic trick of all time. Halfway through the night I wake up freezing. I’ve started to bring a spare blanket into bed in case he leaves me without covers.
Making an H. Ever since we’ve let Caesar in our bed we’ve tried to teach him that making an ‘h’ isn’t acceptable. By that I mean, he can’t lie perpendicular to us. He needs to make an ‘I’ and lie parallel to us. He doesn’t seem to get it. He’s 11 and still doesn’t know the letters of the alphabet.
If they aren’t sleeping well, it can disturb your sleep. We all need our sleep. Having a dog in bed can be counterproductive to a good night’s sleep. Especially when they are restless. Or not feeling well.
They snore. I swear both Caesar and Dixie could use a CPAP. Especially Dixie. She snores just as much when she’s awake as she does when she’s sleeping. She’s so loud for a little dog. And by little I mean 50 pounds, which is little to us. Their snoring can wake us up.
Things can get awkward. I’ve woken up on more then one occasion to Caesar spooning me and breathing in my ear. I kid you not. To be fair, though, he’s done the same thing to Carter as well. I’ve instructed Carter to snap a photo of it next time he wakes up to find Caesar spooning me.
They mess up your Sleep Number. I finally get my Sleep Number bed where I want it. Then you add a dog or two and I need to readjust my bed. You’re probably wondering why I don’t adjust my Sleep Number with the dog(s) in the bed. That would be a great idea if the dogs doesn’t freak out when they hear the bed moving.
So much dog hair. If you let your dog(s) sleep with you, your bedding is going to collect a lot of dog hair. This was a hard thing for us to get past initially. You may have to wash it more frequently.
Nightmares. My dogs have what I assume are nightmares. They make barking noises and kick their legs like they’re running. Have you ever been kicked by a dog trying to outrun his nightmare? It’s not fun. Especially when you’re in the middle of a good dream.
It can be hard to say no. After I’ve let my dogs sleep in bed with me I always feel bad about not letting them sleep me with. There are just some times when you want some good quality, undisturbed sleep. But still those sad puppy dog eyes make you feel like you should let them sleep with you all the time.
It can be a pain getting them in bed. When Rebel got older, I’d always let him sleep in bed with me when Carter was out of town. Because he was 100 pounds and couldn’t jump up in bed, I had to drag the ottoman from the living room to the bedroom so he could hop up on it and then onto the bed, all the while pushing at his rear end to aid in the process. It can be a lot of work when they can’t get in bed by themselves.
It’s nice when we’re all together. There’s something peaceful and reassuring about having the dogs in bed with you. I like that we can all be in one place, especially when it’s storming out. It makes me feel safe.
Dogs are warm. If you get cold at night, a dog can definitely keep you warm. Maybe too warm.
Dogs appreciate it. I really think my dogs appreciate sleeping in bed. They look forward to it. Maybe because it isn’t guaranteed. They get really excited any time they get to jump in bed.
Dogs are calming. They lower your blood pressure and release a relaxation hormone. Don’t believe me? Read this.
Back adjustment. Caesar will sometimes sleep pressed into the small of my back. It really makes my back feel good. He has a way of pressing into it so it gives my back the support it needs. It’s like he’s a chiropractor without the formal training.
Alarm clock. Caesar will wake me up for Price is Right if he thinks I’m in danger of sleeping past 10 AM. And Dixie, well she’ll just wake us up whenever the heck she feels like it’s time to get up and play.
We didn’t let our dogs sleep with us early on. We wanted them be crate trained first. We thought they needed to be housebroken and have basic training before we trusted them to sleep in bed. The last thing we wanted was a dog who thought the comforter was a giant piddle pad. Or have them start chewing on the pillows thinking they were giant dog toys.
Letting them sleep with us evolved over time. It works for us so we’ll probably keep doing it until it no longer works.
As with everything, there are positives and negatives to having your dog(s) sleep with you. I’ve laid out way more negatives. But all the downsides haven’t discouraged us from letting the dogs sleep in bed.
How do you feel about sharing a bed with your dog?