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Today’s blog entry is all about why your dog should sleep in your bed at night
13 years ago, I never thought I’d write on this topic because here’s the thing.
I used to be a staunch believer in maintaining a clear boundary between my dogs and my bed!
For years, I firmly upheld the rule of keeping them off the bed, convinced it was for the best.
You know, along the lines of dogs are animals, and they don’t belong in a human bed.
However, life has a way of reshaping our perspectives, and as two particular events happened, I ended up reevaluating my feelings on dogs in human beds.
So in this deeply personal blog post, I invite you to join me on a journey of transformation as I explore the reasons why your dog should sleep in your bed at night.
Additionally, I’ll share what I’ve learned over the years to pull it off.
Because as with so many things in life, this “dog in bed” scenario still requires certain rules to make it work for all parties involved.
Curious to learn more? Here we go!
5 Reasons Why Your Dog Should Sleep In Your Bed At Night
The first catalyst for letting my dogs Missy and Buzz sleep in my bed was Missy’s cancer diagnosis.
At that point, the pups were about 3.5 years old and used to sleeping in their crates at night.
They also had their dog beds to lounge in during the day, and we had daily cuddle time on the couch as well.
But that’s it as far as sleeping next to each other.
Then Missy’s thyroid cancer diagnosis happened, and we took her to see a dog oncologist in Cary, NC, Dr. Ruslander, DVM, DACVIM, DACV.
Soon after her first consultation with him, we scheduled her tumor removal surgery.
The tumor was sitting on the right side of her neck, so she was released with a big neck bandage and pain meds.
Missy after her surgery
1. Healing and Rehabilitation
Missy had to rest and take it easy for about 2 weeks after her surgery.
During this time, I decided to reevaluate my stance on dogs in bed.
Ultimately, I ended up sleeping with her in our guest bed because I wanted to be close to her and let her know that she was loved.
I also wanted to keep her from potentially scratching at her incision.
Just FYI, she wore a cozy sweater my mom made to protect the incision after the big bandage was removed (she still wore a smaller one).
Missy with my mom’s sweater
But either way, of course I allowed her brother Buzz up on the bed as well because I didn’t want him to feel left out.
So during these 2 weeks, Missy, Buzz and I spent the nights as well as several hours per day together in the guest bed.
As you can tell from the picture below, it was only a queen size bed and the pups and I took up most of its space. Of course the sheets ended up being covered in fur, but at the time, I didn’t care.
I just wanted her to be comfy.
Sharing the guest bed with Missy (next to me) and Buzz
So if your dog is recovering from an illness or surgery, consider letting them sleep in your bed (or guest bed!) to give them a safe and comfortable environment for healing.
As a side note, I had pet insurance for both Missy and Buzz, and they covered 90% of her cancer treatments.
If you’re interested to find out more on whether or not you can get pet insurance for a rescue dog, click here.
2. Monitoring Health Conditions
When Missy had fully recovered from her thyroid tumor removal surgery, she got 3 rounds of preventive chemotherapy every 3 to 4 weeks, depending on her white blood cell count.
During this time, I continued my stint in the guest bed with the dogs.
I wanted her to feel as relaxed and cared for as possible, and of course be right there in case she got sick.
3 years later when the cancer came back and had spread throughout her brain, it caused seizures.
I definitely wanted her to sleep in my bed to make sure I didn’t miss any seizures at night.
Yes, you read that right, at that point it was no longer the guest bed, and I’ll explain that switch in the next section.
So if your pup is dealing with certain health conditions, your dog sleeping in bed with you can allow you to monitor them more closely during the night.
That way, you can quickly jump out of bed and help them with their condition.
This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with seizures like Missy, but also for those with mobility issues, chronic illnesses, or dogs who need medication.
3. Comfort and Emotional Bonding
Now here’s why I made the move from letting the dogs sleep in the guest bed to letting them sleep in my bed – my marriage started to fall apart.
So while my now ex-husband and I were still living under the same roof, I slept in the Master bedroom, and he slept in the guest bedroom.
And just like that, Missy and Buzz spent most nights in my bed, while I’ll be honest and say that sometimes, they also switched beds at night.
But either way, it was extremely comforting not having to fall asleep by myself, and it created a sense of closeness between the pups and me.
4. Enhanced Sleep Quality
Contrary to popular belief, having a dog in bed does not necessarily disrupt sleep, and I’ll get to the rules and boundaries around this topic here in a bit.
In my case, the physical presence of Missy and Buzz helped reduce my stress levels because they had a calming influence on me.
Whenever there were tears, and there were quite a few, Buzz would immediately leave his place by my feet, come over and lick them off my face, which was incredibly soothing.
Missy wasn’t much of a tear licker, but she always stayed very close to me, which was peaceful.
Both combined with the rhythmic sound of the pups’ breathing had a calming effect that helped me fall asleep.
It definitely led to a better night’s sleep than if I had slept alone!
5. Improved Safety and Security
As you know, dogs are known for their protective instincts.
Regardless of the size of your pup, they will let you know if there’s any potential threats or intruders!
Keeping that in mind, if you allow your dog to sleep in your bed, it adds an additional layer of security, especially if you live alone.
I always felt extremely safe with Missy & Buzz in my bed, especially given their size and their deep barks.
Dog Bed Etiquette
While letting my dogs sleep in my bed at night has many benefits, I established 3 specific rules around dog bed etiquette:
- The dogs are only allowed on the bed when they’re invited up.
- No playtime or digging on the bed.
- They sleep on a dog blanket.
It’s kind of funny when I think about the first time I allowed the dogs on the guest bed. While Missy was lifted in after her surgery, Buzz was skeptical at first.
After all, the pups had never been allowed on the bed until then, so I had to repeatedly pat the bed with my hand and say “It’s OK Buzz, come up”.
As we started to make this a daily routine, the command that came up along with it was “OK puppies, come up”.
My partner Dan and I use the same command with my current dog Wally when he’s allowed on the bed. Well, the only difference is that we use Wally’s name, obviously, but other than that it’s the same.
That also implies that Wally doesn’t sleep in our bed every single night.
On average, I’d say he sleeps in bed with us twice per week.
That frequency changes when Dan travels for work and Wally and I are home alone.
On those nights, Wally usually sleeps in my bed at night and I feel very safe when he does – even though compared to Missy (55 lbs) and Buzz (75), Wally’s a lightweight with only 38 lbs!
Wally (right) and my former roommate’s dog Lila (left) in my bed
No Playtime Or Digging
I believe that structure is important for humans and dogs as it provides a sense of stability and routine.
So in my house, playtime, roughhousing and digging happens outside of the bedroom, and not in bed.
During the day when the dogs are typically more playful, I made and continue to make that point by shutting the bedroom door or blocking the space with a baby gate.
The dogs are only allowed inside when they’re calm and ready to sleep.
Blocking access to our bedroom with a baby gate
Dog Bed Covers Are A Must
While I stand by all the reasons why your dog should sleep in your bed at night, I don’t love sleeping in a bed that’s covered in dog fur.
That’s why Missy, Buzz, Wally and Lila all slept and continue to sleep on a big dog bed cover or blanket.
It goes into the wash on an as-needed basis, which is usually weekly.
When Missy was having her seizures, I also lined the dog bed cover with painter’s plastic sheeting for additional protection when she had an accident:
At What Age Can I Let My Dog Sleep With Me?
As far as housetraining goes, that’s usually completed when your puppies are 6 months old.
And here’s a tip, I highly recommend you crate train your puppies to speed up the process of house training!
But of course it depends on the respective dog as some dogs learn quicker than others.
The same applies to obedience commands – once they respect them, you can let your dog sleep in your bed at night.
Now that you know 5 really good reasons why your dog should sleep in your bed at night, we’re curious to find out which one resonated with you the most!
As a reminder, I let my dogs sleep in my bed at night:
- For healing and rehabilitation purposes
- To easily monitor dog health conditions
- For comfort and emotional bonding
- For improved safety and security
- To enhance my sleep quality
So if you’d like, let us know your favorite reason in the comment section below this blog post!
Just as a last side note, please remember that every dog and their human owner is unique.
That’s why it’s important to consider your individual circumstances and preferences when you decide whether or not to have your dog sleep in your bed!
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