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Is It OK to Let My Dog Sleep in Bed With Me?

Question:

Is it OK to let my dog sleep in bed with me?

Answer:

Experts have long disagreed on this question. Some think it’s acceptable since dogs are part of the family. As one study from the Mayo Clinic concluded, having Fido in your bed doesn’t detract from human sleep.

“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home,” study co-author Lois Krahn, M.D., said in a press release. “Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

However, others protest that being literally on the same level as the owner gives a dog the idea that they’re on the same level in a figurative sense as well, and makes your dog more likely to challenge your authority.

Can your dog sleep in bed with you?

In most cases, we’d say it’s fine. If your relationship with your dog is healthy — that is, they treat you with love and kindness, and respect the house rules and boundaries you’ve set — sleeping in your bed shouldn’t cause a problem.

There are three circumstances, however, in which you shouldn’t let your dog sleep in your bed:

1. Your dog has separation anxiety. Your dog needs to learn to feel comfortable being on their own. If they’re sleeping in your bed, you’re missing the opportunity to get them used to being physically separated from you while you’re still present, an important first step in solving the separation anxiety problem.

2. Your dog has shown aggression toward you. Or, they have their own ideas about who’s really in charge. These are the dogs who, when asked to get off the bed, curl a lip, growl, air-snap, or bite. They may also do those things when someone rolls over or shifts in their sleep. If that describes your dog, they’re not a good choice for a bedmate!

3. Your dog is a Great Dane or other large dog who steals the blankets. Who wants a huge, fur-covered blanket thief?

Unless any of the above apply to you, go on and invite Rover over. Dogs aren’t only cuddly, they make fantastic bed warmers on cold nights!


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