Dogs: should they share your bed?

Telling someone that you like sharing your bed with the family pet can elicit a variety of reactions, from expressions of delight to looks of derision…

With such strong responses, it would seem that the jury’s still out on whether it’s a good idea to keep a four-legged bedfellow, so we thought we’d investigate its pros and cons and let you decide for yourself.

Before we begin though, let’s take a look at the history of canine bed sharing.

People have shared their beds with domestic pets for many centuries. In fact, a surprising number of history’s rich and powerful have shared their bed with the pooch, from Queen Victoria and her beloved pet Pomeranian, Turi, to Alexander the Great and his greyhound, Peritas. Anthropologists have also noted that many cultures across the world share their sleeping spaces with domesticated dogs to warn them of approaching predators and provide additional warmth.

It wouldn’t be farfetched, therefore, to think that co-sleeping with pets is quite an instinctual thing, but is it really any good for you and your shut-eye?

Here are some of the most common pros and cons for sharing the bed with the hound:

Puppy pros

  • Sharing the bed with your furry friend has many psychological benefits. For example, if you struggle to get off to sleep, knowing that your furry companion is right there beside you can keep you from feeling lonely or insecure.
  • The pet effect – a study conducted in 1988 showed that petting a dog was good for lowering blood pressure, which means that some pre-sleep affection with the pup may be a good way to wind down and hit the hay.
  • If you live alone or you have trouble letting your guard down, co-sleeping with the dog can help you to feel safer.

Canine cons

  • Older dogs and certain breeds of dog can be snorers, and we’re not talking cute, rhythmic snoring here, we mean full-blown foghorn.
  • Three’s a crowd – enough said, right?
  • Doggies can introduce dirt and bacteria to your bedroom, so it’s a good idea to wash your bedding more frequently and treat your pup to regular baths if you do wish to share your bed with them.
  • If you suffer with allergies, you should probably refrain from sharing your bedroom with pets. It may also benefit you to invest in an anti-allergy mattress.

It doesn’t look like there are any concrete reasons for banishing your pooch to the top of the stairs – besides sensitivities to pet hair or wanting to spend some time alone with your partner – so as long as you’re happy and your sleep isn’t disturbed, don’t let sharing your bed with your favourite furball give you paws for thought.

Sleep well!

James Murray

James Murray

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