Sleeping with a dog has its benefits and risks. Is a pet in bed good for your health?

Sleeping with a dog has its benefits and risks.  Is a pet in bed good for your health?

Sleeping with a dog is a topic that arouses many emotions – supporters and opponents have long been fighting a war of arguments “for” and “against”. What do scientists think about sleeping with a dog? What do doctors and animal behaviorists think are the benefits and risks of sleeping with a dog? Be sure to check before you start sharing a bed with your pet.

  • Sleeping with a dog – is it a good idea?
  • Sleeping with a dog – what do dog behaviorists think about a pet in bed?
  • Dogs love sleeping with their owners, but is it healthy for humans?
  • Should children sleep with a dog?

Sleeping with a dog is a topic that can trigger an avalanche of comments on the Internet and effectively spoil relationships between family members. Interestingly, opponents of inviting a dog into the bedroom include not only people who believe that a pet’s place is outside the building, e.g. in a kennel, but also dog lovers who mark an invisible boundary in front of the bedroom door or bed, which the dog has no right to use. cross.

The dispute about the benefits and risks of sleeping with a dog has not been resolved even by scientists who also have divided opinions on the subject and are trying to prove their point.

Sleeping with a dog has become a bone of contention not only between dog owners who sometimes humanize their four-legged friends too much and people who do not treat dogs as full family members, but also among specialists, among others. in the field of psychology, bacteriology and parasitic diseases.

Sleeping with a dog – is it a good idea?

Before you buy or adopt a dog, you say: “the dog should sleep on its own bed”, and when a squealing puppy or a confused adult dog that you adopted from a shelter appears at home, you completely change your mind and start sharing your bed with your four-legged friend. In many cases, this is what it looks like, and sleeping with a dog, although previously not considered, is becoming a daily ritual.

The results of some studies prove that sleeping with a dog provides a greater sense of security for both humans and pets and helps strengthen the bond between the dog and its owner. Women who participated in a study conducted by scientists from Canisius College Buffalo claimed that they felt more comfortable sleeping with a dog than with their partner. Of course, sleeping comfort is an individual matter, so the results of the study should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The results of another study confirmed the positive impact of sleeping with a dog on the mental condition and stress level of dogs and their owners. According to some scientists, sleeping with a dog improves mood, helps reduce excessive nervous tension and anxiety, and also affects the quality of sleep, which translates into the effectiveness of night regeneration.

Dog owners claim that when they sleep with their pet in their bed, they sleep through the night without any problems and feel better in the morning. It has also been noticed that the constant presence of a dog in bed has a positive effect on the ability to concentrate. On the one hand, sleeping with your four-legged friend can bring many benefits, e.g. it increases your sense of security, but you must remember that sharing a bed with a dog may also involve certain risks.

Sleeping with a dog – what do dog behaviorists think about a pet in bed?

Sleeping together between a dog and its guardian or guardians, as people in relationships often share the bed with the dog, can bring many benefits. Behaviorists have debunked the myth about the negative impact of sleeping with a dog on its psyche and character – it was once believed that dogs that sleep in bed and, for example, can use a sofa or armchair begin to dominate their owner.

It is worth noting, however, that in the case of dog breeds with a tendency to dominate, as well as dogs with behavioral disorders that obsessively defend their resources, it is necessary to set insurmountable boundaries and appropriate training of the dog from the first moments of life together, because a dog with character can take over bed, reacting by growling or otherwise manifesting his dissatisfaction when, for example, his caregiver changes his position during sleep. Importantly, this applies not only to sleeping with a large dog, but also with small breed dogs, which are often more dominant and stubborn than large breed dogs.

Before we allow a dog to sleep in our bed, it is worth taking into account the fact that sleeping with a dog may pose a threat to our health and the health of the pet. With a small dog, sleeping together may result in, for example, crushing the miniature pet, and even unintentionally harming the dog may result in a bite.

In the case of a large dog, we should take into account the need to provide an appropriate amount of space for each user of the bed, because an animal weighing several dozen kilograms may prove to be a difficult opponent in the fight for a duvet and centimeters of valuable sleeping space, and may react with aggression when, for example, it is suddenly woken up from sleep. deep sleep.

Please remember that dogs can be jealous of their owners and try to protect their humans from threats, which can also lead to dangerous situations. For example: when the dog’s partner joins the human-dog family, the dog may start to behave inappropriately, e.g. in intimate situations, “defending” its owner.

Not every dog ​​feels comfortable sleeping in a bed. Some animals choose their own bed as a place to sleep and relax. There are also dogs that, although they like to jump under the covers, also need their own bed in a place where they can rest from excess stimuli and observe the surroundings.

Dogs love sleeping with their owners, but is it healthy for humans?

When sleeping in the same bed with a dog, you need to remember several important issues that affect our health and the health of the animal. First and foremost – proper care and veterinary care, which is necessary for the dog to maintain good health. A dog, regardless of whether it sleeps in the same bed with us, must be vaccinated and regularly dewormed and protected against external parasites that it can transfer to our bed (fleas, ticks).

Maintaining sleep hygiene may be a serious problem when sleeping with a dog. Pet hair, as well as exfoliating epidermis and secretions may contribute to the development of diseases, including: inhalation allergy and contact allergy.

Should children sleep with a dog?

Babies and small children should not be left alone with a dog, not only while sleeping, but also during the day. Constant supervision of the behavior of the child and the dog allows you to avoid many dangerous situations, e.g. an attack of aggression when the child accidentally hurts the dog. A child should be taught from an early age how to behave in the presence of a dog – a dog is not a toy – even a loyal and peaceful pet can be provoked into aggressive behavior.

Moreover, opponents of children sleeping with dogs note that a pet may, for example, crush an infant or small child while sleeping, endangering its health and life. It is worth taking this into account when watching an infant or small child fall asleep next to a four-legged friend and not leaving your pet in the child’s room unattended.

To sum up, the advantages of sleeping with a dog include: greater sense of security, strengthening mutual bonds, improving sleep quality, reducing stress and feelings of fear and anxiety. The disadvantages of sleeping with a dog include the potential risk of developing allergies, hair in the bed, which favors the development of dust mites, sleep disorders (a large dog may, for example, snore loudly, waking us up at night), the potential risk of inappropriate behavior of the dog if we accidentally hurt it, and also when he feels he is the master of our bed and wants to dictate conditions and enforce their compliance, e.g. by growling.


  • Jessica Rosano, Tiffani Howell, Russell Conduit, Pauleen Bennett, Co-Sleeping between Adolescents and Their Pets May Not Impact Sleep Quality, DOI: 10.3390/clockssleep3010001

  • Salma I. Patel, Bernie W. Miller, Heidi E. Kosiorek, James M. Parish, Philip J. Lyng, Lois E. Krahn, The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp .2017.06.014

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