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Dog Advice

Should Your Dog Share Your Bed?

March 8, 2016 0

Dogs in the bed

I love Sundays. As I’ve gotten older (not that old mind you), my favourite time of the week has moved from Friday night to Sunday morning. There’s something so beautiful about waking up slowly, without an alarm, and just knowing you have the whole day to do whatever you want.

My dogs don’t sleep in my bed. Not necessarily because I don’t want them to, it’s their choice. It could be because I toss and turn too much or maybe I fart in my sleep, but for whatever reason, they prefer to sleep in other parts of the house.

dog sleeping in bed

image from hellogiggles.com

When it’s really cold or I’m having a nap though, they will sleep near me. (I didn’t get malamute mixes because I love to vacuum). But is that a good thing? Can inviting your dog to sleep in your bed be harmful or unhealthy?

Things to consider

I’m the kind of person that even if my doctor bluntly said to me “You are sick because your dogs sleep in your bed”, I’d still disagree. There are however some things you should consider before you let Lassie hop into your bed with you:

Bacteria where you sleep

Possibly the most common fear is that your canine best friend, without knowing it, might track bacteria into the place where you sleep. The good news is that even though homes with pets will contain more bacteria, that’s not necessarily reason to kick your dog out of the bed – whew!

According to Pets.WebMd.com, you should only really need to kick your pets out of the bed if you’re an allergy sufferer. That dander and hair can make it so that you have trouble sleeping and that can have a ripple effect on other parts of your life.

dog sleeping on bed

image from tumblr.com

There are studies on both sides of the coin. Technically your dog (or cat) has the potential to make you sick. They can carry with them all kinds of bacteria and parasites, some of which could lead to things such as salmonella or heartworms. But even the studies I found that suggested there could be potential for pet-borne illness, state the risk for such an occurrence was low.

As long as your pet is properly vaccinated and you regularly clean your sheets, it’s okay to have your dog sleep in your bed. In fact, doing so might help you to sleep better because you feel more safe and secure.

Behavioural issues

Another reason you might consider not having your dog sleep in your bed is for behavioural reasons. When I first got Casey, her and Dakota were still figuring things out between the two of them. I could tell Dakota was trying to show Casey that it was her house and she would often do things like climb onto the bed and not allow Casey on there.

I quickly decided that neither of them would get to be on the bed. No couch, no toys, no anything without my permission. I made them work for everything until they got into their heads that I was in charge of the resources and neither one of them ranked above me in the house.

dogs sleeping on couch

Casey (left) & Dakota sleeping on the couch

Now they are inseparable. They talk to each other all day and hang out like they are the best of friends. The pack leader role goes back and forth between them depending on what the situation is, but they have a deep love and respect for one another. Oh, and just try keeping them off the couch now!

It’s up to you

With two malamute mixes, I live in a storm of hair about twice a year. That hair gets into just about everything, including my bed. Depending on the breed of dog you have, you’ll have to deal with a different kind of dirt (or drool) in your bed. But if you’re like me, and love nothing more than your dogs jumping up on the bed to say good morning to you or to curl up beside you for a nap, there’s plenty of reasons to let your dog sleep in your bed – no matter what anyone else might think.

Keep your pets vaccinated, bathe them regularly and there shouldn’t be any problem letting your best friend snuggle up with you for a nap or for the night.

Do your pets sleep in your bed? Share your stories in the comments below.

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Greg Lehman
Founder @ TuxedoMutt
Greg Lehman is a hippie in a business suit. He's also a positive based dog trainer and freelance writer. When he's not working, you'll find him somewhere in nature with his two dogs Casey and Dakota or taking a nap. Who doesn't love naps?

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