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By Echo Mayernik
It’s no surprise that our blood pressure lowers and our stress melts away when we meet our canine friends at the door after a long hard day at work. Science has almost unanimously proven that bringing a dog into your family is right for you and those you live with. With very few exceptions, like allergies, a dog in your home can make life safer.
Safety Around Dogs
There are some concerns about dogs sleeping in your bed with you. However, studies have shown that for most people, the benefits of sleeping with your dog outweigh those of kicking them out of your bed. Mattress company, SleePare, researched several claims and discovered quite a few pros and cons of sleeping with your furry friend.
History suggests that families with dogs fall victim to property crimes, like vandalism and burglary, less often than pup-less homes. When a dog is treated like family in your home, they become part of your pack, and it becomes their job to protect their pack. Indigenous Peoples worldwide have domesticated canines to defend them as long as time has been recorded and beyond.
It doesn’t matter if you or a loved one have severe PTSD or mild depression; dogs have acted as companion animals and emotional support pets for centuries. Dogs can pick up on triggers and help direct you to safety even when you can’t see the danger.
Further, Dogs love unconditionally and know when their closeness is needed. Psychological and physiological studies show that petting a dog can trigger the release of endorphins and other brain chemicals to help calm or soothe a mental health reaction.
Memes and forums are lamenting the frustration of dog owners everywhere fighting for space on the bed. However, every dog owner also knows that without that bedtime struggle and the resulting cuddle puddle once they’ve settled, we wouldn’t sleep nearly as well.
When our dog is snoring at our backside or lying across our feet, we bring our breathing into pace with them. It helps us calm down and settle in for deep rest. For many, sleeping with their dog gives them a sense of security, especially women.
Sharing Isn’t Always Best
In most cases, sharing your sleep space with Bruno is excellent. However, some dogs don’t thrive in a shared sleeping space. This doesn’t mean your dog loves you any less or that you care less about them. Everyone is different in their needs, and that includes your dog.
Another thing to consider when deciding to share your sleeping space with your dog is that your dog may not be suited for sharing an indoor space. Some dogs are too warm when they share a bed with you, like Malamutes or other cold-loving dogs. Other dogs trained to stay outdoors and protect their pack; livestock guardian dogs would rather sleep with their livestock than their people.
Parasites and Disease
We do our best to keep our dogs healthy, but sometimes things fall through the cracks. So long as you take steps to fix the issues, you’re still a good puppy parent, but that doesn’t mean they should share your bed while they’re recovering. Parasites and diseases can be spread from dog to human through several methods, so it’s best just to avoid your dog sleeping on your bed until their ailments are all clear.
Some dogs are possessive and can become aggressive toward those they feel threaten those they’ve claimed as “theirs.” Sleeping in the same bed space as your possessive dog can increase aggressive behavior tendencies and lead to endangering others that you interact with.
Restless Legs – Four of Them
We’ve all had those nights that we can’t sleep. We’re restless and just need to move. Dogs get that way too. If your pup tends to get up and down throughout the night, they could be disrupting your sleep cycles. If you’re waking up feeling tired and unrested night after night, it’s likely your dog isn’t sleeping well either. They may rest easier on their bed near you or a crate in another space.
Two’s Company – Three’s a Crowd
If your doggie friend is coming between you and your partner, it may be impacting your relationship. Make everyone happier by setting boundaries with your dog. Teach them to sleep near you in their bed or crate for nighttime. There are ways to navigate pet ownership and relationships without a “Me or the Dog” ultimatum.
Deciding whether or not to let your dog sleep in your bed is a personal choice. You and your bedmates will need to weigh the pros and cons against your lifestyle and decide what’s best for your family.
Whatever way you choose to sleep, remember that your pets are a part of your family, and you can expect them to love you no matter which option you choose. Read more about loving and caring for your dog with more articles from Dogington Post.
About the Author: Echo is a mom of two rambunctious boys, writer, and artist in Portland, OR. She is a lifelong dog owner who loves to learn new things, and when she’s not writing for SleePare or chasing down the kids in their shenanigans, she’s got her hands in the soil of her garden or exploring the city and nature parks around her.