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Should You Let Your Pet Sleep With You?

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Dogs as pets are becoming more and more of a staple in American family life. In fact, 60 percent of dog owners let their dog sleep on their bed or in their bedroom with them.

Although the majority of dog owners seem to take part in shared-bedroom practices, there are many who oppose allowing your pet in the bedroom, and for good reasons.

If you’re considering whether or not sharing your bed with your pet is right for you, hearing the pros and cons may help you weigh out the decision.

Reasons To Share the Bed

For a well-adjusted and well-behaved dog, the pros of having a dog sleep with you may outweigh the cons. Sleeping alongside dogs even has physical and mental health advantages for both you and your pup.

In fact, even the National Institute of Health concluded in a study that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to sleeping with your pet. Here’s why.

Being near a dog increases our flow of the feel-good hormone called oxytocin, which is associated with feelings of affection and happiness. Sleeping alongside dogs can also lower your heart rate, leading to decreased anxiety and increased relaxation.

The rhythmic sound of a dog’s snoring, breathing, and heartbeat are what impact your heartbeat. In fact, did you know that your heartbeat and your dog’s synchronize over a period of time?

Dogs also have a body temperature three to six times higher than ours, which makes them the perfect bed warmers - not to mention soft and cuddly too! It’s also beneficial that they help ease your anxiety through promoting a sense of safety and security. You can rest assured knowing they are sleeping with their ears wide open for sounds of trouble.

Finally, sleeping alongside your dog increases time with him or her, making the owner-dog bond is strengthened.

Why You May Want to Send them Back to the Doghouse

As helpful and meaningful as it can be to have your dog or dogs sleep by your side, there are noted risks as well.

According to Psychology Today, the main factor that medical professionals see as problematic is the ability of dogs to disrupt sleep. Since we as humans are monophasic sleepers and dogs are polyphasic sleepers, dogs can be likely to wake us up (during our one sleep cycle) at any time they wake up from one of their multiple sleep cycles during one night.

Sleep disturbance is a very prevalent issue for Americans causing crankiness, lowering immune system response, and decreasing our daily alertness, so this is why medically speaking, sleeping alongside dogs is a medical or psychological concern. As many as 53% of dog owners who sleep alongside their dog say that the dog wakes them up once during the night.

The list of risks continues past sleep disturbances. Other reasons you may not want to allow your pet into the bed with you include the following:

  • Dogs carry allergens that can aggravate humans who have allergies. Allergens from outside get trapped in dog fur and paws, which they can track into the house and also your bed.

  • Even though it is rare, disease can be transmitted from dog to human, and from human to dog.

  • House training accidents happen. Even with house broken dogs, leaking during the night is common. This is particularly problematic for your mattress, even more so when you have to steam clean it.

  • Once you allow a dog to sleep alongside you, it can become a lifetime commitment. What dog wants to go back to sleeping in a crate after being able to sleep alongside you with a cushy mattress, comforter, and pillows?

Overall, it is up to you whether it is okay for your dog to sleep alongside you, based on your personality, sleep habits, and preferences.

If you have significant allergies or you wake up during the night more easily, then maybe crating your dog is the best option. However, there is compelling evidence that sleeping alongside your dog is just fine, and perhaps has more benefits than risks.

Choose what works best for you and your dog!

Author: Hannah Stevens

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