Sleeping with your dog is a controversial subject that is still open to discussion. Specialists disagree on what’s the best recommendation when it comes to co-sleeping with your dog, and though it’s a completely personal call, there are certain items you should take into account to make an informed decision.
Pros and cons of sleeping with your dog
It can help you sleep better. Sleeping with a loved one is always a good idea. Snuggling up with your dog can be super relaxing and it can help you fall into a restful deep sleep.
It can be good for your dog’s health: Your dog can also benefit from sleeping with you. Sleeping as a pack makes your dog feel secure, protected and sheltered.
It can lower your anxiety levels: sharing your bed with your furry friend can make you feel safe while creating a deeper bond with each other. In fact, this is not a modern practice: aboriginals used to sleep with their animals in order to feel protected and warm. A natural stress-reliever.
It can be unhygienic. Dogs are in constant contact with germs, dirt and feces which can easily end up in your bed. They can also bring with them unnoticed fleas and ticks, so if you are thinking of sleeping with your dog, using grooming and cleansing wipes is a must.
It can make owners lose authority. Cesar Millan, a renowned dog trainer, claims that ‘there is nothing wrong in sleeping with your dog, as long as you don’t forget the rules and boundaries, and remember that is your bed and not your dogs’.
It may be uncomfortable. It can disturb your sleep. Dogs and humans have different sleep cycles: if you observe your dog’s sleep, you will notice he is always alert and he wakes up several times during the night. So, if you are a light sleeper, think it twice.
‘Sleeping with your dog can help you feel safe and lower your anxiety levels, but it can also be unhygienic and disturb your normal sleep cycle.’
Nevertheless, other points can weigh in on your decision-making.
Their size: If you allow your Great Danes to sleep in your single bed, you may be having second thoughts the next day, when you wake up to an awful backache.
Their age: If you have recently adopted a puppy that suffers from anxiety and cries at night, you may be a little laxer at bedtime. Quite the opposite, if your dog is 13 years old and he is having trouble controlling his urine, maybe him sleeping in your bed is not the best idea.
Their personality: Not all dogs are fond of sleeping with their owners. Some of them truly enjoy it and some are more comfortable in their blanket and wouldn’t sleep in your bed even if you let them.
Should my dog sleep inside or outside?
If you’ve already decided your dog won’t be sleeping in your bed, then it is time for you to make a more complicated decision: should my dog sleep inside or outside?
As in many other dog-related matters, the answer depends on many factors. There is no standard recommendation about dogs sleeping inside or outside. However, there are some factors you can take into account before making a final decision.
Frequency and duration: Leaving your pup for a few hours outside won’t hurt him, as long as you don’t leave him unattended. If you decide to have your pup sleeping outside, you should be aware of providing him with enough food, water, and comfort.
Wheather: The weather you live in should definitely be included in the equation. Naturally, if you live in 20 C° weather, sleeping outside at night is probably not the best idea for a dog.
Age and health condition: Puppies, adults, and senior dogs have very different needs, and while a 2-year-old dog might be thrilled to stay outside, an 11-year-old dog might not have a very pleasant experience.
Habits: Dogs are creatures of habit. If your dog is used to spending time outside, he will probably have no trouble sleeping there as well. On the other hand, if your dog is lying in your bed all day long, expecting him to happily stay outside is utopic.
To conclude, there are no standard recommendations that indicate whether sleeping with your dog is a good idea or not. There are many factors involved and it’s completely up to you. Now you know its ups and downs a little better, you can make an informed decision that fits your current situation and makes you and your dog happy at night.