A dog that is allowed to sleep on the bed with its owner.

Should I Let My Dog Sleep On The Bed?

Given the choice, our dogs would love to spend every waking (and sleeping!) moment with us. Many of them would jump at the opportunity to sleep right next to their owner. But should I let my dog sleep on the bed? 

Whether you should let your dog sleep on the bed depends entirely on your lifestyle and preferences. Dogs don’t need to sleep on the bed but most of them would certainly love to! So, it’s up to you!

Do All Dogs Like To Sleep On The Bed?

A dog laying on the bed with a blanket over its head.
Well, this one isn’t sleeping very much, but they seem to like it!

Dogs are social creatures. In the wild, packs of wild dogs will sleep close together for warmth and protection. If your dog is very comfortable with you, it is likely that it will enjoy being as close to you as possible for a good snuggle in your bed.

Sometimes though, your dog may not stay on the bed for very long or may flat-out refuse to climb into bed with you at all. There are a few reasons this may happen. Your bed may be too soft, too warm, or too cramped for your dog’s liking. Most dogs prefer to sprawl out on the cool hard ground because the temperature is more comfortable for them. Also, sleeping on firm surfaces offers support and helps them breathe better. 

Of course, all this is up to individual preference. Your dog may decide it loves the bed one day but prefers the floor the next day when the weather is hotter. 

Are There Benefits To Sleeping In The Same Bed As Your Dog?

Research shows sharing a bed with your furry friends can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. Co-sleeping with your dog reportedly lowers stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate. Also, people that sleep in the same bed with their dog develop a stronger bond with them.

While there are benefits to letting your dog sleep on the bed, not all dogs are equally good bedmates though. If your dog snores or moves around at night, it can negatively affect your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted the next day. A study found that most people don’t remember their dogs waking them up the next day but report increased tiredness. 

What Are The Risks? 

A decline in sleep quality is the most commonly encountered drawback of letting your dog sleep on the bed. If you’re constantly awoken at night, you will not feel rested the next day, no matter how many times you sleep. The fact many people do not remember getting woken up may mean they never realize that it is co-sleeping with your pet that is causing their fatigue.

Dogs also shed hair and pet dander excessively onto the bed as they sleep on it. This can exacerbate allergies and cause reactions even in people who did not show any previous signs of allergies. Pets also carry in other allergens, such as pollen, onto the bed. This increases your exposure and the possibility of an allergic reaction. 

Sleeping in such close proximity to our pets can also increase the risk of disease transmission. Dogs can quickly spread contagious skin conditions, such as mites and fungal infections through contaminated bedding. Dogs also carry intestinal parasites that they can spread to humans in such conditions.

Some dogs, especially those with a nervous temperament are likely to snap when caught off-guard. If you accidentally kick your dog while you’re both asleep, it may mistake it for aggression and try to bite you.

That being said, there is no evidence to support the claim that allowing your dog to sleep next to you can encourage dominant behaviors and aggression. In wild dog families, social standing does not determine where they sleep. If your dog is being aggressive, there’s probably a different underlying reason that the owner needs to address.

What About The Future? 

When they’re young, dogs are a joy to share a bed with. They can bound right up onto and off the bed effortlessly. It’s relatively easy to keep their fur and skin smelling clean. But as much as we hate to think about it, your young dog will grow old someday. Their joints won’t be strong enough to let them climb onto the bed with ease, their skin may not be as healthy, and they may develop a stronger odor with age.

It simply becomes impractical and unhygienic to allow your dog to sleep on the bed any longer. But your dog may not understand that.  A dog that has spent its life sleeping next to you may feel rejected if they are suddenly expected to sleep away from you. It is important to think about your dog’s future when making these decisions.

Creating A Safe Space For Your Dog 

Dogs are den animals and enjoy having a cool quiet space for themselves that they can return to when they feel uncomfortable. Crate training is an excellent tool for dogs of all ages. Puppies are much easier to potty train when their owners have taught them to sleep in a crate. Dogs that are allowed to sleep on the bed may have “accidents.” That can then become a habit that is hard to break. 

For adult dogs, crates help your dog to self-soothe in stressful situations. This is especially true when the environment gets too chaotic. It’s also true if you’re away from home for most of the day. A dog that is already comfortable in a crate is easier to transport for vet visits or in an emergency situation. 

As they age, our dogs become less active and develop painful joint conditions. Senior dogs can nap comfortably in their crate without having to stress about getting on the bed or waiting for their human companions to go to sleep. If they’ve been taught to sleep in a crate all their lives, they won’t need to go through the stress of having to shift from the bed to the crate when they are no longer able to share the bed with us.

In Conclusion: Should I Let My Dog Sleep On The Bed?

The answer is entirely up to your preferences and your dog’s. There are many psychological benefits to being so close to your furry friend, but sharing a bed also has some downsides. Having your dog sleep in the same room but in a dog bed or crate placed next to your bed provides many of the merits but eliminates many of the risks as compared to actually having them on the bed. 

So, what do you think about all of this? Are you ready to let your dog sleep in the bed or keep them on the floor? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Dr. Umaya Gunaratne (DVM)
Dr. Umaya Gunaratne (DVM)
Umaya Gunaratne is a veterinarian plus dog and cat mum currently pursuing her PhD in small animal cardiology. Her field of interest is degenerative mitral valve disorders in small breed dogs, but her passion lies in bridging the gap between academia and the real world. She enjoys helping pet parents understand the research-backed science behind raising their fur kids. She spends her free time playing football, clicker-training her cat, Ria, and spending quality time with her many houseplants.