Sharing Your Bed with Your Puppy: Pros and Cons

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Dog Behavior, Tips

Dogs add so much to our lives, and when you get a puppy, it can be love at first sight. Once you’ve brought your puppy home, you’ll have to make lots of decisions about raising them. One of the most debated issues is whether you should share your bed with your puppy. While millions of people happily sleep with their purebred dog curled on the foot of the bed, others aren’t comfortable with it. There is no consensus on the topic, even among animal behaviorists, breeders, and veterinarians. You’ll have to decide what is best for you and your puppy, but there are pros and cons to consider.

The Upside

  • There’s nothing better than snuggling with a puppy. Research has shown that cuddling and petting dogs helps people relax and feel calmer. Your body releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that promotes feeling content and loved. If you have trouble falling asleep, having your puppy with you may aid in relaxing and drifting off the slumber.
  • It’s comforting to have a soft, warm puppy next to you, especially in colder months. Sharing your bed with your puppy creates a cozy atmosphere where your troubles are diminished because you’re in the moment and focused on your puppy.
  • You may feel safer if your puppy sleeps with you. After all, dogs are experts at hearing strange noises and alert their owners if something unexpected happens. It’s like having a furry bodyguard.
  • Sleeping together encourages strong bonding. Puppies like to sleep with their “pack” and are less likely to whimper and whine at night if they are safely snuggled up with their family.

The Downside

  • Dogs, even purebred puppies, get dirty. If your dog is in your bed, they are tracking in dirt and germs even if groomed regularly. Drool, loose fur, and whatever they’ve walked through during the day all end up in your bed.
  • Anyone with allergies can attest that sleeping with a puppy can aggravate allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, and itching. The same applies to people with asthma.
  • If your dog has behavioral issues tied to aggression or separation anxiety, sleeping in the bed with you can make these worse and more difficult to alleviate. A comfortable crate or a dog bed next to your bed may be better options.
  • If you’re a light sleeper, a puppy might wake you during the night by whining, rolling around, snoring, and other routine activities.
  • If you share your bed with a partner, having a puppy in the bed every night may impact intimacy. If your dog sleeps with you, plan for a few nights each week when they’ll be kept out of the bedroom.

Tips for Successfully Sleeping with Your Puppy

If you decide you want your dog in bed with you each night, there are steps you can take to ensure co-sleeping works for everyone involved. Most importantly, train your puppy to sleep in a dog bed or crate first. There will inevitably be emergencies or situations when your dog won’t be able to sleep with you. If they are already comfortable sleeping elsewhere, they will adjust more quickly to a change in routine.

Make sure you’ve minimized any potential issues. Don’t let your puppy share your bed until they are house trained to avoid unpleasant clean-up in the middle of the night. You should also keep them on a flea and tick preventative year-round to ensure you don’t end up with pests in your bed.

The final decision is yours. If you and your puppy both enjoy sleeping in the same bed, your bond will be even stronger. Make sure everyone is happy by approaching the situation with eyes wide open and contingencies in place for emergencies.

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