Dogs in the Bed: Health Risks or Must Haves?

dog bed shareThe cold weather here has us thinking about alternative ways to stay warm. Do you let your dogs sleep in your bed? Ask any dog owner and you’ll find that the subject is hotly debated. Some owners love the feeling of a pup breathing next to them while they sleep. Others believe no dog should rule the roost in this fashion.

We’re looking a bit deeper than opinion, at the possible health risks or benefits that come with a canine bedtime companion.

Potential Health Concerns Of Sharing A Bed With Your Dog

If you’re allergic to dander or pet hair and you let your dog in your bed, you know you’re asking for trouble.

But even if you aren’t allergic to those specific things, the presence in your bed of any animal that runs around outside and gets into the trash is likely not the healthiest arrangement for someone who suffers from other allergies, such as to pollen or certain grasses.

That’s bed-sharing concern number one.

Number two involves your actual sleep cycle. Sleeping next to anyone, let alone an animal on a different general schedule than you, can be a task. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or you are getting interrupted sleep only, you may want to consider giving the dog the boot lest your immune system and attitude suffer.

Click here for advice on how to get the dog to start sleeping in his own bed

A less common but still relevant health concern: your relationships. If you and your spouse disagree on whether the dog should be in bed at night, you will need to work out an arrangement that’s appropriate for all three of you to best avoid stress. Further, if your dog becomes dominant as a result of being allowed in the bed, you may want to try another solution for sleep.

Potential Benefits Of Sharing a Bed With Your Dog

Most benefits of sharing your sleep space, like most concerns, are anecdotal in nature. We couldn’t find any data about how many people who sleep with their dogs sleep more hours or stress less overall.

But we do know that some owners cite emotional bonding as the reason they love it. Some point to a feeling of protection, and others like the relaxed rhythm of their dog’s breathing. Some owners enjoy the added warmth, and that could be beneficial if you live in a cold climate.

Chances are, if you’re sharing a bed with your dog because you want to, and not just because your dog or spouse wants to, you are probably seeing health benefits without even recognizing them. You’re likely reducing stress and giving you both one of the greatest benefits to having a pet in the house: some added love.

Do you share a bed with your dog, or your cat? What influences your choice? Share your story in a comment below.