Should you let your dog sleep with you? If you own a pet, you’ve probably considered whether or not you should let your dog sleep in your bed at night. According to several studies, about half of all pet owners allow their pets to sleep with them at night. Allowing your dog to sleep with you has numerous advantages. We’ll go over some of the benefits of sleeping with your dog, as well as some of the reasons you might want to reconsider.
Within the pet community, and even among pet trainers and pet behaviorists, there is a dispute about whether or not sleeping with your dog is a good idea. Some studies claim that sleeping with your dog is beneficial to your health, while others suggest that sleeping with your dog is detrimental to your sleep routine.
According to the American Kennel Club, 45 percent of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them, 20 percent have their dogs sleep in a crate, 17 percent in a dog bed, 14 percent in different locations inside, and 4 percent outside.
Did dogs evolve to sleep with humans?
Like humans, dogs are diurnal animals which means that they sleep during the night and roam around ruing the day. There is one study that suggests that because dogs evolved alongside humans, they likely adapted to the human sleep pattern or human circadian rhythms of sleep. Dogs have even developed additional human characteristics, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that occurs in a similar fashion as humans.
An additional study found that when dogs sleep next to their owners, both the human and dog experience a longer sleep cycle and better sleep quality. This means that both the human and dog reach and deeper sleep together as opposed to sleeping in separate areas. Why might this be? It could possibly be due to the protective characteristics that both dogs and humans offer each other as they would snuggle up on a cold night. The dog knows that it is safe with its owner and that its owner will protect it. In addition, the owner knows that he is safe with his dog and that his dog will protect him.
Sleeping with your dog reduces depression
A recent study examined the effects of animal-assisted activities on human depressive symptoms. The study found that people who participated in activities or treatment with dogs had fewer depressive symptoms.
Imagine what sleeping next to a dog can do for your depression if just socializing with one can help! The presence of dogs relaxes us and enhances the flow of the love hormone oxytocin. As a result, your dog becomes a living antidepressant; how cool is that!
Should I let my dog sleep with me every night? It has been proven that having a dog reduces systemic hypertension among pet owners and other health issues. This is likely due to your dog’s increased activity, but it could also be due to the calming effect that owning a dog has. Dogs give their owners an extra sense of security and help them to relax. This leads to a more quality sleep cycle.
Another study discovered that socializing with a dog causes a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate. Consider the numerous benefits that prolonged engagement with a dog may provide! What could an extra eight hours snuggled up next to your dog do for your heart health?
Letting your dog sleep with you reduces stress
Sleeping with your pet has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels within pet owners. In fact, even 74 percent of all pet owners report that their mental health has improved since adopting a pet. As we previously mentioned, snuggling your pet release oxytocin; this chemical is responsible for reducing stress and increasing overall mood. This chemical is also responsible for reducing the stress chemical known as cortisol. Due to the decrease of this chemical, dog owners are able to get a better night’s sleep.
Due to the decrease in stress levels from sleeping with your pet, there are other effects that are also observed. One study found that interacting with your dog, including sleeping with your dog, can lead to lower blood pressure. So, if you are struggling with elevated blood pressure, adopting a furry friend may be of great benefit to you.
One study found that human sleep efficiency was best when there were two human partners and one medium-size dog in the room; not on the bed. So, if you find that sharing your bed with your dog is uncomfortable, simply having them in the same room may also provide some benefit.
Can sleeping with your dog reduce allergies?
Some critics of sleeping with your dog argue that sleeping with your dog can cause allergies due to the dog bringing in outdoor allergens. However, one study found that these allergens may actually be beneficial. The study examined infants who slept with pets and discovered they were less likely to develop allergies later on.
Early exposure and continued exposure to these allergens may actually have a positive impact. It is important to note, however, that this may not be the case with everybody. Those who struggle with pet allergies may want to avoid sleeping with their furry friends to avoid unwanted illness.
Are you a light sleeper?
You may want to avoid sleeping with your dog if you are a light sleeper, as you may experience a reduction in the quality of sleep you have. Dogs aren’t always known for sleeping through the night; you could have to deal with a lot of sleep disruptions. Lack of sleep can lead to several health issues, so it is important to ensure that you are comfortable with sleeping with your dog before doing it every night.
You may notice that your dog shifts its sleeping position frequently, scratches itself, or even snores. If you’re a light sleeper, this activity will certainly drive you insane and keep you awake all night, lowering the quality of your sleep. Heavy sleepers may have a better experience sleeping with their dogs compared to lighter sleepers.
Be sure your dog is potty trained
Before inviting your dog to sleep in your bed, it is important that they are potty trained. If the dog is not yet potty trained, you may wake up to find that your dog had an accident in your bed. This behavior issue is difficult to fix once it has been started. It is best to begin with crate training your dog and ensuring they are completely potty trained before having them sleep with you.
Tips for letting your dog sleep with you
If you’ve decided to let your dog sleep in your bed with you, there are a few tips to follow to maintain a pleasant relationship and a good night’s sleep for both of you.
Some folks who sleep with their pets suggest buying a blanket that is solely for your dog’s use. This keeps your personal bedding and blankets clean while also providing a place for the dog to sleep. You should also train your dog to lay in the location where you want him to. This will keep him from invading your sleeping spot, and it will also help if you have other dogs in your bed.
Additionally, you may want to purchase a larger bed depending on the size of your dog or the number of dogs that you are sleeping with. Sharing a small bed with your dog may lead to sleep disturbances depending on the size of the dog. Dog breeds like the Great Dane, Bully Kutta, Samoyed, and Mastiff are very large and require a lot more space than small dog breeds.
Is it bad to let your dog sleep with you?
Sleeping with your dog comes with its benefits and may even improve your health in a variety of ways. These benefits range from decreased blood pressure, reduction in anxiety and stress, and even allowing you to experience deeper sleep and better sleep quality.
So, when it comes to this question, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer; it is a matter of personal preference. In short, the answer is it depends. If you believe it would be beneficial to you and your dog to sleep together, go for it! Sleeping with your dog can be beneficial to both you and the dog.
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