August 28, 2020 5 min read

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There has always been debate over whether or not our dogs should sleep with us. Many people believe sleeping with their dogs creates a stronger bond. Dogs, by nature, want to be close to their families. Here you will find all you need to understand why dogs like to sleep with their owners, and if it's right for you.

Why do dogs like to sleep with owners?

It is very common for owners and dogs to share a bed. In fact, nearly 50% of dog parents allow pups in their beds. There are many factors involved including dog owners just enjoying a good snuggle with their furry friend.

In nature, dogs live by pack mentality. This means they eat, sleep, travel, and live in close quarters at all times. It is instinctive for them to feel safe when in close proximity to their pack. Once you bring a dog into your home, you become part of their pack. They enjoy sleeping with you because it makes them feel safe and comfortable.

Sleeping together gives dogs an emotional connection to their owners. Dogs feel love and gratitude towards you, just like you feel towards them. This time together can create a stronger bond, and show your dog that you are a source of comfort to them.

Benefits of letting dogs sleep with owners

  • Sleeping with our dogs has been part of some cultures since dogs became domesticated. It can be a source of comfort for dogs, but also humans. Sleeping with your dog has been proven to decrease anxiety and stress for both parties.
  • In terms of practicality, your dog can be a source of warmth during cold weather. Their body temperatures are much higher than ours. Having a warm pup next to you can actually help you sleep better.
  • In some cases, having an alert dog can come in handy. Dogs sleep very lightly compared to humans. If something out of the ordinary happens, like movement outside of your home, your dog could be the reason you have enough time to take action.

Negatives of sleeping with a dog

One of the biggest issues with sharing your bed with your dog is sleep. Dogs move around a lot more and can disrupt your sleep. It can also go the other way since dogs are very light sleepers.

Unfortunately, there are some health concerns that come from sharing a bed with your dog. Dogs can carry fleas and ticks and bring them into your bed. Many dogs are on medicines that protect them from the bites of these types of pests, but that doesn’t mean your dog isn’t carrying them around from time to time. They die off if they don’t have a food source. However, if you share a bed with your dog, that food source could be you!

Dogs can also carry a number of diseases that are contagious to humans. Regular vet checkups will detect these types of sickness, but when sharing your bed, your dog may give something to you before it is detected.

Some people believe that sharing a bed with your dog can create dominant or spoiled behavior. This has not been proven. However, in the world of dog training, we have found that allowing an anxious dog to sleep in your bed can sometimes increase their anxiety. Dogs can feel anxious about protecting their owners. They start to feel “on guard”. 

This behavior can be displayed in many different ways, sometimes mistaken for dominance. When we allow them to sleep with us, some dogs feel they must stay on guard all day AND all night. This can be very problematic and stressful for your dog. A professional dog trainer will be able to help you figure out if this is an issue your dog is dealing with. Sometimes these dogs do better sleeping in their own space.

Some dogs simply do not like sleeping with their owners. They will often remove themselves from the bed and roam the house. This can cause disruptions in your sleep. It can also give your dog a chance to get into something they should not, like the trash.

Alternatives to sleeping with the owner

The most popular alternative to sharing a bed with your dog is to get them a high-quality bed of their own! It is important to get them a bed that will allow them to stay comfortable all night. The bed can be placed in the same room you sleep in so your dog can be close to you still.

For a more curious or mischievous dog, a crate could be a safe alternative. The crate is a great tool to keep them safe. It can also be a space where anxious dogs can more easily relax. Properly crate training your dog is absolutely vital if you’d like them to feel comfortable sleeping in it.

Training your dog to sleep in a crate can be a great alternative. If you train your dog to sleep in a crate comfortably, you can always let them sleep in your bed. Then you always have the crate to fall back on.

What if you have to leave town without your dog? What if your dog has some kind of sickness or injury that makes it unsafe for them to sleep with you? Making sure your dog is safe and comfortable is the top priority. Allowing them to sleep in your bed is sometimes the right answer. Teaching them to sleep without you is a good tool to have just in case.

For the restless dog, CBD oil can be a safe supplement to help them relax. Paired with proper training, CBD is another useful tool for anxious dogs. Consult with your vet before giving your dog any supplements, even over the counter. It is best to figure out what is creating your dog’s stress, then supplement appropriately.

Deciding if your dog should sleep in your bed is an important decision that affects you both. There are many factors involved. Your dog’s sleeping style and temperament will play an important role, as well as what helps you feel more comfortable. Using this information will help you decide what is best for both of you!


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Nicole DeVault author of Why do dogs like sleeping with you?

Nicole DeVault

Nicole is a professional dog trainer who has been in the business for about 5 years. She has two dogs of her own. Milli is a ten-year-old Beagle with plenty of sass to go around, and Axel is her three-year-old Pit bull who has more energy than anyone knows what to do with. Both of her dogs are rescues who came to her with their own set of issues. Working with troubled dogs is where her passion for dog training started. She has grown to learn that teaching people how to communicate with their fur babies allows them to enjoy happy and stress-free lives together.