Should You Allow your Dog to Sleep on Your Bed?

By February 01 | See Comments

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A majority of Americans spend their nights in bed cuddling up to their dog. A recent survey found that over 40 percent of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep with them at night. Dogs offer companionship if you are in a bad relationship or single. They provide warmth and evoke a feeling of security, especially for kids who are afraid of the dark. They also provide safety from potential intruders. And most of all, sleeping together reinforces the bond you have with your pet. But is it a good idea to have your dog sleep next to you?

The pros and cons of sharing the bed with your dog

A lot of veterinarians and dog trainers discourage the habit as it shows submission. Some doctors say that sharing the bed with your dog will create dominance issues and give your dog the impression that you are not the leader of the pack. However, other experts say that such concerns are blown out of proportion, hastening to add that it would create a problem only if the dog already has dominance issues with the owner.Hygiene is another major concern. Although rare, a number of infections – from cat-scratch disease to chagas disease – can spread from animals to humans.

Fleas and other potential messes

are also a problem if your dog has not been house-trained properly. However, this distress can be minimized with regular visits to the vet. The risk is minuscule as long as the owners keep the dog current on worm and flea preventatives.

Rule of thumb for sharing the bed

Aside from hygiene and dominance concerns, there are other factors you may want to consider before letting your dog sleep with you. Your dog might take too much space, snore or smell bad. If your dog can stay on the floor when you are in bed for at least ten minutes, you can go ahead and invite the dog up on your terms. During those ten minutes, your dog should be able to remain patient without nudging, pawing, or pushing. You do not want to find yourself being pushed off your bed in the middle of the night. That makes it your dog's bed and not yours.

When your dog belongs to the floor

If your dog cannot abide by the aforementioned rules, it is time to get him used to sleeping on the floor. This is not an easy process. If your dog is used to sleeping on the bed, it would be difficult to wean him off the habit all of a sudden. You can start by placing a bed for your dog on top of your bed and encourage him to sleep in it for a few days. You can then try moving it to the floor. However, if he jumps back up, say 'no' and put him gently back on the floor. This might take a few tries, and if still doesn't work, keep him in a crate to contain him. Give him a bone or

toys to keep him occupied

. Although this adjustment can take a lot of work, it will pay off in the long run.

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