Dogs offer many benefits, with loyalty and companionship topping the list. Many dog owners treat their pets like family, giving them access to every nook and cranny in the home.
However, letting your dog sleep in your bedroom is a hotly debated subject. When getting a puppy or even adopting an adult dog, owners have to decide where the boundaries are and how to enforce them.
Where Should Your Dog Sleep?
Dog owners are faced with several important questions when they welcome a new dog into their home. Will the dog be allowed on the couch? Where will they sleep? Where will they stay when no one is home?
The answer to the last question suggests the answer to the other questions, too. If a dog is allowed unrestricted access to the house, the couch is likely included. But what about the bedroom?
If you choose to crate train your dog, that may be where your dog prefers to sleep at night. Remember that dogs are den animals and many find refuge in the den-like safety that crates provide.
Another variable is crating during the day and allowing the dog into your bedroom at night. But that brings up another question - does the dog sleep on the bed or on a dog bed placed on the floor?
If you’re staunch on the idea that dogs belong on the floor, check out the best dog beds here. However, if you’re undecided about where your dog should sleep, these benefits to sharing your bedroom may sway your opinion.
6 Ways Letting Your Dog Sleep in the Bedroom Benefits Your Health
Where your dog sleeps is a decision dog owners should consider before bringing a pup home. Allowing the dog in the bed as a puppy and then changing course later confuses the dog and is a recipe for disaster.
Of course, letting your dog sleep in the room doesn’t necessarily mean in the same bed. Dogs are happiest when close to their humans, but are perfectly fine sleeping on a dog bed in the corner or even in a crate next to the bed.
Letting your dog sleep in the room isn’t just for the canine’s benefit. People can also reap the advantages. There are many health benefits to allowing your dog to sleep in the bedroom, including
1. Sense of Security
Protection is one of the main reasons why people get a dog in the first place. Keeping your dog in the bedroom can alert you to any dangers you may not have yet noticed. Dogs have exceptional hearing that goes far beyond human capabilities. In fact, many people unknowingly use their dog as an alert system when visitors stop by or a car pulls into the driveway.
However, a dog who barks excessively can make it difficult to sleep. Training your dog not to bark at every noise they hear is a tedious, but necessary, part of dog ownership or you’ll end up with the dog who barked wolf.
2. Lower Blood Pressure
Our furry friends prompt us to remain active with daily walks and a good game of fetch. This exercise not only helps your dog stay mentally and physically healthy, but it also has the same effect on humans.
Routine exercise helps keep the blood pressure low. Additionally, dogs are known to have a calming effect. Just stroking a dog’s fur can reduce blood pressure. Many pet owners find that petting their dog helps usher in sleep.
3. Stress and Anxiety Relief
Stress and anxiety are linked to hypertension. Airplanes, colleges, even dentist’s offices, are using therapy dogs to reduce stress and anxiety. Dogs are naturally calm creatures, which may explain their effectiveness in reducing stress.
However, it’s important to keep attuned to your dog’s behavior and not put them in stressful situations. Dogs exhibit stress by licking their lips, raising their fur and walking in circles. If you notice your dog is showing these signs, try to find the cause and remove it.
4. Built-In Heated Blanket
Dogs are warm and fuzzy and wonderful. If you live in a colder climate, they are the perfect foot warmer during the winter months. While it varies from dog-to-dog, many dogs enjoy nothing more than cuddling with their owners.
If you share your bed with another human, dogs can inadvertently cause it TOO much warmth. A good compromise is to cuddle the dog and then send them to another area of the room, such as a crate or dog bed. That way, they will be close but not so close that they disrupt your sleep.
5. Good for Your Mental Health
Stress and anxiety are often a side effect of depression. Somehow, dogs innately know when a person is sad and does their best to cheer them up. Sometimes that means nothing more than sticking their cold, wet nose in your face.
Researchers don’t know why dogs have the calming, mood-lifting effect, but anecdotal evidence supports the contention that dogs make us happy. Luckily, dogs generally feel the same way about humans and form connections to us.
6. Strengthens the Connection Between Dog and Owner
That connection mentioned isn’t always immediate. Depending on the dog’s previous life or personality, it may take time to build trust. Sleeping in the same room can help form a bond between the human and canine.
Dogs are social animals. Their ancestors lived together in dens and hunted in packs. Even though there are thousands of years between domesticated dogs and their wild counterparts, the instincts remain the same.
It’s Your Dog’s House; You’re Just Living In It
Dogs are happiest when they have boundaries and a leader. Many dog owners joke that their dog is the boss of the house. Some may believe that allowing a dog in the bedroom gives them unfettered control.
However, dogs are obedient and eager to please. The health benefits of letting your dog sleep in the bedroom often outweigh any negative impact.
Advantages and disadvantages aside, it comes down to personal preference. Besides, everyone knows the cat is the real boss of the house.
Whether you are for or against co-sleeping in the bed or in the bedroom, dogs still need 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day with puppies sleeping 20 hours per day on average. Though it all depends on the breed and size, only 10 percent of a dog’s sleep is in REM unlike humans where 25 percent of sleep is REM.
Hopefully these tips can help you determine the best option for you as a dog owner. However, there is still always a chance your sleep disruptions are truly insomnia or sleep apnea. Our sleep specialists at The Alaska Sleep Clinic can talk for free to get you back on track for a full night’s rest.
Leo Wilson graduated from a university major in animal health and behavior. He had over a decade of experience working in the pet industry and has contributed many dogs and pet-related articles to several websites before he decided to start sharing his knowledge on his own blog. And when he is not busy working, he and his wonderful wife love spending time at home with their 3 dogs and 2 cats.