Half of pup parents share their sheets – but are they getting enough sleep?
Who doesn’t love a good doggie cuddle? Or some warm fur at our feet?
But every night?
Dogs have been sleeping next to us since the Stone Age. And although what started off as a need for warmth and protection eventually evolved into a need for a good old snuggling – people are divided about letting animals under their sheets.
To share or not to share?
Surveys have consistently shown that people are evenly split between those for and against co-sleeping with a dog. Close to half of pup parents have no problem putting a welcome mat on their mattress and curling up with their dog.
“My big dog sleeps with me every night,” Vancouver dog mom Monika Chan tells OhMyDog!. “He’s about 75lbs and just dead weight so I can’t even push him over to his side.”
“He also gets active dreams and sometimes will wake me up because he’s running in his dreams but actually just kicking me in the back. Despite all of that, I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Local dog owners like Cynthia Tjandra couldn’t imagine such a sleep.
“My bedroom is off limits for my dog,” says Tjandra. “We implement rules to respect each others’ space. I don’t go into his crate and he doesn’t go to my bedroom.”
Of course many people who snooze close to their dog will get used to the patterns of their pet’s sleep. But let’s face it, it’s not always easy. Never mind being pinned in by your pup, there’s the snoring, the twitching, and worse – the nighttime grooming and farting. It can be like the worst overnight date ever.
The sleeping rhythms of dogs are very different from our own. So the moments of restlessness, bathroom breaks, and awake times can be disruptive to our deep (important) sleep, whether we notice it or not.
A Mayo Clinic study showed that while the average person gets an 85% sleep efficiency on any given night, the presence of a dog in bed dropped that rate to 80%.
That might not seem enough of a difference to kick your pet out of bed, but it does make for about 15 minutes of lost sleep per night. And that adds up in the cycle of sleep deprivation.
The Pros and Cons of Snoozing With Your Dog
The good news is that sharing the bed with your dog rarely leads to behavioural or territorial problems. That notion has long been debunked as a holdover of “dominance theory” – the practice of showing a dog who’s boss, especially in the nice parts of the home.
In fact, it’s been proven that sleeping close to your beloved furry friend is a bonus for mental health, reducing stress and depression. It also strengthens the bond between pet and owner. And without a doubt, it can make for a warmer, more cuddly night.
However, in addition to the whole loss-of-sleep issue, dogs can bring a lot of unwanted things to bed. Animals can track dirt, parasites, and other unseen elements into your sheets. Especially if grooming is not maintained.
Human allergies can also be aggravated by breathing so close to fur, which can trap pollen and grass. Even those without serious allergies can still feel the effects in the morning.
Whatever you decide, know that once you let your dog have the bed, it’s difficult to reverse. A good compromise is to sleep “near” your dog, and provide a blanket on the floor, at the foot of the bed.
Vancouver dog mom, Cathe Smith, perhaps puts it best.
“Do what feels right for you and your dog,” Smith tells OhMyDog!. “Never mind what anybody else thinks or feels.”
“Some of our most precious bonding moments are in the quiet of the evening when he’s cuddled up next to me. I’m really glad I didn’t take the advice of people who said not to, or I would have missed out on some surreal moments.”