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Is My Dog Sleeping in Bed a Bad Thing?

The Good, The Bad, and The Rules

By Meredith Alling. March 07, 2014 | See Comments

A Dog Sleeping In The Bed Next To His Mom

Does your dog always seem to find their way into your bed at night? Many pet parents aren't sure if this is a good or bad habit to allow. Here are some good rules to stick to when it comes to bedtime.

What could be better than climbing into your comfy bed, pulling the covers up to your neck, and turning over to cuddle your soft and snuggly best friend?

Most pet parents have given in to this tempting scenario at one time or another, many making it a normal part of their nighttime routine. In fact, studies show that across the globe, 14 to 62 percent of pets share a bed with their owners, and of the 165 million cats and dogs in the USA, over half snooze next to humans. The vast majority of dogs included in those statistics are small to medium sized breeds, but some owners subscribe to the idea that  “the more the merrier,” and invite multiple pets up to slumber.

But is it a good idea? This question is the topic of much debate. Here we’ll take a look at the good and the bad, and go over some useful bedtime rules.

Dogs in Bed: The Good

Aside from the comfort and warmth that a dog in bed offers, sleeping with your pup can have its benefits. While sleeping side by side, you and your dog will form a close bond, and your eating, sleeping, and bathroom schedules may begin to sync up.

Dogs in Bed: The Bad

It may be difficult to resist a darling dog who wants to snuggle, but there are things that can go wrong when you invite your dog up to your domain.

  • Social Problems: Dogs are great company, but it’s perfectly OK to want some time alone or with your significant other. If you never let your dog up on the bed in the first place, it should be easy to keep them off. However, if you let your dog up but decide that it’s no longer a good idea, it can take some adjusting for both you and your dog. Be consistent, and soon you’ll both be comfortable with the new sleeping arrangement.

  • Biological Problems: Dogs spend lots of time outside running, playing, and kicking around in the dirt. In addition to messy paws, your dog could also bring some uninvited guests to bed -- meaning fleas, ticks, or other parasites. Not only is this an unpleasant idea, it can also cause a lot of problems for your dog, including sores, hair loss, and disease. Also, did you know that fleas and ticks can bite humans, too? Get your dog on a flea and tick treatment so you won’t have to worry about it.

Rules for Co-Sleeping

If you’ve decided that sleeping with your dog is something that you’re just not willing to give up,
take a look at these rules for ensuring that bedtime is as cozy, comfortable, and as compatible as you want it to be.

1. Remain In Charge
Dogs who are invited up on the bed often begin to believe that they can come and go as they please. While many owners allow this behavior, it is better to retain the dominant role and call the shots when it comes to bed privileges. If not, you may find yourself with a dog who takes over your spot when you get up to go to the bathroom, stomps on you in the morning, or refuses to get off when it’s time for some privacy. Teach your dog the commands for “on” and “off,” and make sure that you are the one deciding when they can join the slumber party.

2. Keep Things Clean
If you are allowing your dog up on the bed to cuddle, it will be better for both of you if they’re nice and clean. Protect your dog from fleas, ticks, and other parasites, and if they’ve been outside playing, a wipe down may be in order.

3. Be Consistent
You’ve been letting your dog up on the bed for months and now you want them to sleep on their own? Dogs are creatures of habit, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your pup looks offended or tries incessantly to rejoin the snuggle session. Decide what sleeping situation is best for you and your dog, and stick with it.

More on Dog Behavior

How to Teach Your Dog "Yes" and "No"
How to Stop Dog Aggression
12 Things You Didn't Know About Dog Psychology

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