Sleeping With Dog: Benefits, Dangers & Tips

Sleeping With Dog: Benefits, Dangers & Tips

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Medically reviewed by Sid

Last Updated on Apr 27, 2022

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    Pets are a part of our family, and we love them just the same we love our loved ones. 56% of dog owners prefer sleeping with their dogs and around 35% of children like sleeping with a pet beside them. But, is it good to sleep with your dog?

    Many studies found that sleeping with your pet can be good for you. Your dog's body warmth, heartbeats, and protective nature can reduce anxiety, loneliness and can give you the feeling of safety and security.

    Sleeping with your cute pet could be so comforting, but there could be problems, too, like sleep interruptions. Let's discuss more benefits, drawbacks, and tips for co-sleeping with dogs and why dogs like sleeping with us.

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    Benefits of Sleeping With Your Dog

    Can dogs sleep with you? For several years, there has been a debate around the benefits of sleeping with pets. Letting your dog sleep with you is safe as well as beneficial in the following manner. 

    1. Provides Comfort and Security

    A survey of women confirms that sleeping with their dog on the bed provides more comfort and security than sleeping with another person or cat. It’s a feel-good moment, especially if you are away from your dogs for the whole day. 

    2. Improves Mental Health

    Pets are famous for relieving stress and anxiety. Pets promote social and emotional connections that can affect overall mental health.

    A study also shows that animal interactions with humans can benefit stress-related factors like:

    As per a study, they may help in:

    • Reducing stress-related factors like epinephrine and norepinephrine
    • Enhancing empathy
    • Improving trust
    • Lowering aggressiveness

    Another study suggests that pets can be the primary support for people with long-term mental health diseases. 

    3. May Not Decrease Sleep Quality

    A study shows that having a dog in your bedroom may not affect your sleep, but having your dog on the same bed as yours may disturb your sleep. It also depends on the size of the pet, the bed, dog sleeping position, and the number of pets. 

    Research also found that dogs are less disruptive as sleep partners than cats and other pets. 

    If the dog is disturbing your sleep, you can consider placing the dog bed near your bed. If you have a good quality sleep at night, your pet is probably an excellent sleeping partner. 

    4. Reduces Depression

    A study shows that animal-related activities can help with depressive symptoms in human beings. People who performed activities with the dogs had fewer depressive symptoms than others. 

    The presence of dogs can help us relax and increase the flow of oxytocin (the love chemical). Hence, dogs can help in reducing the symptoms of depression. 

    5. Increases Sense of Security

    Dogs are famous for the sense of protection and security they provide. While you sleep, a sense of security can help us sleep better. A dog will know you immediately if there is trouble while you are asleep. However, if your pet is overprotective, it could be a problem. 

    6. Helps With Insomnia

    It’s frustrating not being able to sleep at night due to insomnia. The good news is that a dog sleeping in your bed can help you reduce insomnia by relieving anxiety and modifying hyperarousal and hypervigilance. This helps in creating a better mood and environment for sleeping at night. 

    7. Improves Comfort

    Studies have shown that animals can help diminish nightmares and help people dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dogs provide comfort that enables you to feel at ease and comfort. This creates a snuggly atmosphere for dog owners to sleep. 

    8. Reduces Loneliness

    If you live alone, sleeping alone can enhance depression and discomfort. Sleeping with a cute pet can be a great way to combat loneliness while you sleep. Recent studies show that the presence of pets can help people sleep, especially singles. Dogs can provide companionship, security, and comfort, making them a perfect companion for co-sleeping. 

    9. Reduces Blood Pressure

    A study shows that human-dog interaction, including petting your dog, can lead to lower blood pressure. Dogs sleeping in bed with you can help you with the same. The benefits don’t stop while you are asleep. 

    10. Strengthens Bond With The Pet

    Alaskan native-Americans used a practice named “three dog night.” It involved owners sleeping with their dogs for mutual warmth. The owners and dogs would sit together around a campfire for warmth and afterward share the bed on cold nights. 

    This helped in improving the early humans and dogs. Some believe this practice helps in improving the bond even today. Sleeping with the dogs makes them feel inclusive and like a part of their pack. 

    These points might have helped you understand why dogs should sleep in your bed. Let’s learn why should you not sleep with your pet. 

    Side Effects and Dangers of Sleeping With Dogs

    Is it bad to sleep with your dog? Dogs are undoubtedly great sleeping companions, but you should consider these factors as well.

    • May cause injury: If your dog is aggressive, there is a high risk of dog bites or scratches at night. There is also a risk of scratches when the dog is asleep.
    • May spread diseases: Bacteria, parasites, and fungi can quickly spread from pets to humans. These can spread through:
    • Licking the face, or open wound
    • Bites
    • Scratches
    • Feces

    In the United States, the risk of spreading disease is low. However, the most threats come from:

    • Fleas and ticks
    • Ringworms
    • Skin disease through mites
    • May aggravate allergies: Your cute pet can carry allergens like dust and pollen in their fur. This can worsen your allergies or asthma. 
    • May affect sleep quality: Dogs move a lot in their sleep. They are always on alert. A minor noise or disturbance can disrupt their sleep. A recent study shows that sharing the bed with a dog can increase human movement. It has the potential to disturb sleep, but participants hardly remember waking up due to dog movement. 

    This study was conducted on a small sample and may not be valid for a wider population. If the dog snores or overheats the bed, it might not be the perfect sleep partner for you. 

    On the other hand, cats are nocturnal animals. They would prefer playing at night and might wake you up too. 

    How to Sleep With a Dog in Your Bed?

    If you have decided to sleep with your dog, you can try these tips to sleep better. When you sleep with anyone, it’s crucial to make sure that they adjust to the sleeping arrangements. 

    1. Before bedtime, go for a walk with your dog. 

    2. Train them to wait for a signal to get on the bed. 

    3. Set boundaries. Don't make any exceptions if you don't want them to get on the pillow. 

    4. Don't behave aggressively. Don't allow their aggressive behavior near the sleeping area. 

    5. Keep your pet above the sheets. As mentioned above, there are some cons of dogs sleeping with humans. By making them sleep above the sheet, you can avoid many of these. 

    6. Keep your pet clean. Make sure they are bathed regularly to avoid dirt and allergies. 

    7. Go to the veterinarian for regular checkups.

    8. Check for fleas and ticks. If present, use proper treatment.

    9. Wash your hands after cleaning up.

    10. Change your bedding regularly.

    Should You Let Your Dog Sleep In The Children's Bed?

    Dogs and children love each other. Unfortunately, children are more susceptible to germs than adults. It’s also difficult for a kid to get good quality sleep with a dog in the bed.

    Aggressive dogs will be riskier for your children. They can bite or scratch your children. 

    Infants and pets should not sleep together. You can consult their doctor to know if they are old enough to sleep with pets. 

    When Should You Not Sleep With Your Dog?

    Unfortunately, dogs sleeping with owners is not always a good idea. Sometimes, it’s best to avoid sleeping with your dog. If you have a severe health condition, please consult your doctor before sharing your bed with your dog. 

    Avoid sleeping with your dog if:

    • They are not vaccinated
    • They are not potty trained
    • They have worms, flea, or ticks
    • They snore, or move around a lot
    • They are large

    Avoid sleeping with your dog if you:

    • You are a light sleeper
    • You have severe allergies
    • You have a weak immune system
    • You have open wounds

    Sleeping with your dog can be comfortable, relaxing, and secure. It can help you have good quality sleep. However, sometimes it’s not advisable to sleep with your pet in bed. If you are waking up with fatigue, and severe allergies, avoid sleeping near your dog. 

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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