Chapel Hill, PA — Does a four-legged, furry friend sleep with you? It turns out that it’s very common for dogs to sleep in their owners’ beds, but Jessica, one of my customers, was concerned that her habit wasn’t for the best.
A Concerned Dog Owner
I received this letter from Jessica:
I sleep with my dog, Gatsby, every night. Despite the popular expression, “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas,” I’m not worried about tiny bugs. I have heard, however, that it’s not good for you to let dogs sleep in your bed.
Do you know if this is true?
Sleeping With Dogs
I turned to WebMD to help me answer Jessica’s question. As it turns out, she’s not alone.
According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owners’ beds. That’s dogs of all sizes, too, though smaller dogs are the most common of these furry bedmates.
The real answer to Jessica’s question is no – it’s not bad to sleep with your dog. On the contrary, I discovered that there are multiple benefits associated to sleeping with dogs.
Warmth, security and relaxation are just a few of those comforts a furry bedmate can provide.
Factors to Consider
Sleeping with a dog isn’t bad, but WebMD did suggest several things to consider before sleeping with your dog. For instance, and not to my surprise, it’s not recommended that people with allergies sleep with their animals. Also, aggressive dogs or dogs with behavioral problems should not sleep with their owners until they are better trained, as letting a dog sleep in your bed is a reward for him or her.
I was surprised to find one more important consideration – the fact that sleeping with a dog can have a negative impact on couples who share a bed. The dog might toss and turn at night, disrupting the sleep of a bed partner, or it may even physically come in-between couples.
This usually becomes a problem when a new, “human” bedmate joins the crowd of a dog and its owner. Once a dog is used to sleeping in bed, it’s hard to get him or her out of it, MedMD asserts.
The bottom line is that, while generally not harmful, sleeping with your dog is a big commitment (I’m trying not to laugh here). So don’t do it unless you’re in it for good.
Photo by Jessica.