Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?

dog on bed with owner (photopin)

Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?

Many of us have strong feelings about whether we want Fido curled up in bed with us at our feet (or up on the pillow!), or whether just having him sleep in the bedroom is enough bonding for the mixed species “pack.” Now, scientists have looked at this question and conducted an objective study of which is the best sleep arrangement for peoples’ sleep health.

Spoiler alert: if you are a co-sleeper with your dog in your bed, you may be the outcome of the study!

The Mayo Clinic News Network was referenced in an article in Pets Plus magazine about the good and ill effects of having your dog sleep in your bed. The study was done at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus.

The scientists there posed the question: Is it good to let dogs sleep in your bedroom?

Dogs in the Bedroom is Important Enough to Warrant a Serious Study

“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people, in fact, do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” said Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the Clinic and an author of the study.

The Mayo Clinic News Network reported that their researchers studied 40 dog owners who did not have a sleep disorder. They looked specifically at the question of “whether a dog in the bedroom or bed disturbs sleep.”

“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day,” Dr. Krahn added, “So they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having the dogs in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that.”

The Network reported that “sleeping with dogs helps some people sleep better — no matter if they’re snoozing with a small schnauzer or dozing with a Great Dane.”

But there’s a caveat: it will negatively impact your sleep if the dog is actually in or on your bed.

Sleeping Together, Apart

According to the Mayo Clinic study, the sleep benefit only applied to dogs being in your bedroom — not in your bed. Adults who invited their pups into their bed “sacrificed quality sleep.”

The take-away advice from the study is that you should not let your canines crawl under the covers with you if you want a good night’s sleep. Instead, provide them with really comfortable beds of their own.

Call me crazy, but as a way to reinforce the idea that dogs sleep on their own beds, I have a little bedtime ritual where I “tuck my girls in” at night once they are on their beds. I give them a last-of-the-day tasty little morsel (keeping a dog goody jar in the bedroom with a combination of high quality non-perishable treats like Halo Liv-a-Littles or one of the Honest Kitchen’s goodies like Cuddles or Smooches), followed by some quiet patting and a few loving words whispered in their velvety ears.

Then we go off to dreamland in our separate but equal spaces.

—Tracie Hotchner

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photo credit: Katie@! Adorable. Completely. via photopin (license))