A Cozy Companion: Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom?

As nighttime descends, a critical question crosses every pet owner’s mind: “Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom?” The decision to share your sleep space with your beloved canine companion might seem trivial initially. Still, it carries significant weight, impacting your and your pet’s comfort, sleep quality, and overall well-being.

As such, it warrants careful consideration and an informed perspective. This article aims to delve into this subject, scrutinizing its numerous facets and equipping you with the insights you need to make the best decision for you and your furry friend.

The Historical Bond between Humans and Dogs

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom The Historical Bond between Humans and Dogs
Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom The Historical Bond between Humans and Dogs

The human-dog bond is an ancient relationship, tracing back thousands of years, marked by mutual respect, companionship, and interdependence. This unique relationship has been extensively studied, and professionals from various disciplines have contributed valuable insights into the nature of this bond and how it has shaped co-sleeping practices today.

  • Dr. Brian Hare, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and renowned canine cognition specialist, elaborates on the dog-human bond in his book “The Genius of Dogs.” He notes that dogs, including our closest primate relatives, have adapted to understand human emotions and cues better than any other species. This exceptional understanding has facilitated a deep bond and mutual companionship between humans and dogs. (source: “The Genius of Dogs”)
  • Dr. John Bradshaw, a biologist at the University of Bristol and author of “Dog Sense,” suggests that dogs became domesticated as they began to cohabit with human beings, learning to work with us as hunting partners. This relationship evolved into a more emotional bond, with dogs providing companionship and emotional support in exchange for care and shelter. (source: “Dog Sense”)
  • Dr. Stanley Coren, Ph.D., DSc, FRSC, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, further details the human-dog relationship in his book “The Pawprints of History: Dogs and the Course of Human Events.” He explores how dogs have shaped our history and personal lives, becoming not just pets but members of our families. He notes that this closeness has led many to invite dogs into all aspects of their lives, including their bedrooms. (source: “The Pawprints of History: Dogs and the Course of Human Events”)
  • Dr. Evan MacLean, director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona, has extensively studied the benefits of the human-dog relationship. In his research, he found that dogs serve as “social catalysts” that help people bond and communicate with each other, enhancing their psychological well-being. This emotional benefit has likely contributed to the increasing trend of dogs sleeping in their owners’ bedrooms. (source: University of Arizona)

The evidence from these experts underlines the deep, multifaceted bond between humans and dogs formed over millennia. This historical relationship certainly plays a role in the modern practice of dogs sleeping in bedrooms, highlighting our long-standing mutual companionship and the emotional benefits it can offer.

Professional Opinions: What Do Veterinarians Say?

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom
Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom – Veterinary professionals have extensively discussed co-sleeping with dogs, with varying opinions based on many factors. However, most agree that the decision ultimately hinges on the specific circumstances and behaviors of the pet and the owner. Here’s a glance at some perspectives from recognized experts in the field:

  • Dr. Margaret Gruen, DVM, MVPH, Diplomate ACVB at Duke University, has researched pet owners’ sleeping habits. She suggests that “having a pet nearby helps them sleep better, then that is a benefit.” She also cautions that “if the dog’s behavior interferes with your ability to sleep, it might be time to have them sleep somewhere else.” (source: Duke University)
  • Dr. Carlo Siracusa, DVM, associate professor of Clinical Animal Behavior and Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that dogs can sleep in the bedroom but not in your bed, citing potential behavior issues. He explains, “In a family pack, the leader sleeps in an elevated position. If the dog is confused about who the leader is, you should sleep in an elevated position, and the dog should sleep on the floor.” (source: American Kennel Club)
  • Dr. Lisa Radosta, DVM, DACVB, cautions about potential problems with co-sleeping. She mentions, “Dogs can develop behavior problems like aggression and separation anxiety when constantly attached to us.” She suggests that “owners should promote independence by teaching the dog to stay calm when alone.” (source: PetMD)
  • Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, has a more flexible view. She argues that “for most individual dogs, it’s going to be a case-by-case basis. Make sure the behavior is not destructive. Most people can figure out if it’s working for them.” (source: American Kennel Club)

These professional opinions underline the significance of considering multiple factors before inviting your dog into your bedroom. They also emphasize the importance of striking a balance between the emotional comfort that co-sleeping can provide and the potential for behavioral issues that may arise.

Understanding Your Dog’s Sleep Pattern

Before inviting your furry companion into your bedroom, it’s paramount to understand their sleep patterns. Dogs, unlike humans, have polyphasic sleep cycles, meaning they sleep multiple times throughout the day. This circadian rhythm difference can impact your shared sleep experience.

The Psychology Behind Co-Sleeping with Pets

Deep psychological factors often underpin the propensity to co-sleep with pets. Some research suggests it may be driven by innate human instincts for companionship and protection, especially during vulnerable sleeping hours.

Benefits of Letting a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom Benefits of Letting a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom
Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom Benefits of Letting a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom

However, these advantages may vary based on personal circumstances, your dog’s behavior, and the specific dynamics of your household. Let’s explore some potential benefits:

  • Improved Sense of Security: Dogs often protect their human companions, and their presence can provide security. This can be particularly beneficial for those who live alone or in areas with higher crime rates.
  • Stress Relief and Emotional Comfort: Several studies have suggested that the presence of a pet can have a calming effect, reducing anxiety and stress levels. This is especially true at night when fears and worries can seem amplified. The companionship of your furry friend could provide emotional comfort, promoting better sleep.
  • Warmth and Comfort: With their higher body temperature, dogs can provide warmth on cold nights. The rhythmic sound of their breathing can also be soothing, potentially aiding in better sleep.
  • Routine and Structure: Dogs thrive on routine, and having a set bedtime can create structure. This can help establish a consistent sleep schedule for you and your pet, contributing to overall sleep health.
  • Reduced Separation Anxiety: For dogs with separation anxiety, being close to their human at night can help alleviate their stress and anxiety. This can result in a more relaxed and restful night for you and your dog.
  • Increased Bonding Time: The additional time together, even while sleeping, can enhance the bond between you and your dog. This bonding can contribute to a deeper sense of companionship and mutual trust.

Possible Drawbacks of Co-Sleeping with Dogs

Despite these benefits, co-sleeping with dogs presents potential challenges.

While there are benefits to co-sleeping with your dog, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks that could impact your health, sleep quality, and your pet’s well-being. Some of these challenges could include:

  • Disrupted Sleep: Dogs may move, snore, dream, or whimper during the night, disrupting your sleep. Certain breeds or individual dogs may be more restless than others, resulting in frequent disturbances.
  • Allergies and Asthma: If you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma, having a dog in the bedroom might exacerbate these conditions. Pet dander can trigger allergic reactions and worsen respiratory symptoms.
  • Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases: While relatively rare, there is a small risk of zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Regular veterinary care, including vaccinations and parasite control, can mitigate this risk.
  • Behavioral Issues: Some dogs might develop behavioral issues, like aggression or over-dependency if they become accustomed to sleeping in your bed. It’s crucial to monitor and address these issues promptly with the help of a professional if they arise.
  • Reduced Intimacy for Couples: Having a pet in the bedroom could disrupt intimate moments, leading to tension or discord.
  • Difficult Transition: If circumstances change and you need to transition your dog out of your bedroom, the shift can be challenging and stressful for you and your pet.

Balancing Human and Canine Needs

Inviting a dog into your bedroom is a delicate balance between human needs and canine well-being. Each party’s comfort, sleep quality, and emotional needs should be considered.

Factors to Consider Before Inviting Your Dog Into Your Bedroom

Co-sleeping with your canine companion is a decision that needs careful consideration. It’s not merely about opening your door and letting your dog hop onto your bed. Various factors need to be evaluated before making this important decision. Here are some key considerations:

  • Size and Breed: The size and breed of your dog can significantly impact your sleeping arrangement. Large breeds, for instance, would require more space, and their movement could disturb your sleep. On the other hand, smaller breeds may pose less of a disturbance but could be at risk of injury if accidentally rolled over. Additionally, some breeds may be more predisposed to snoring, which could disrupt your sleep.
  • Age and Health: Your dog’s age and health status also play a crucial role. Puppies might need to be fully house-trained and could have accidents during the night. Senior dogs might have health issues that require frequent bathroom breaks or special care. Dogs with medical conditions could also require extra attention during the night.
  • Behavioral Traits: Each dog has its own set of behaviors and habits. Some dogs have difficulty settling down at night, while others sleep soundly. Dogs with separation anxiety might benefit from co-sleeping, whereas showing signs of resource guarding could create problems. It’s essential to consider your dog’s unique behavioral traits before deciding to co-sleep.
  • Your Sleep Habits and Preferences: Your sleep habits and preferences matter as much as your dog’s. If you’re a light sleeper, your dog’s slightest movement or noise might wake you up. Similarly, there might be better options than sharing your bed with a dog if you value your space while sleeping.
  • Allergies: If you or anyone in your household suffers from allergies, having a dog in the bedroom could exacerbate symptoms. It’s essential to consider everyone’s health before letting your dog sleep in your bedroom.
  • Personal Health and Hygiene Concerns: Dogs can carry dirt and allergens into your bed despite regular grooming. If this is a concern, weigh the desire for companionship against the need for cleanliness.

Each of these factors requires thoughtful consideration to ensure that inviting your dog into your bedroom is a positive choice for everyone involved.

Establishing a Sleep Routine with Your Dog

Establishing a consistent sleep routine is paramount if you allow your dog into your bedroom. This routine ensures mutual respect and minimizes sleep disruptions.

Precautions When Sharing Your Bedroom with a Dog

Certain precautions must be taken, such as maintaining cleanliness, setting boundaries, and keeping dangerous items out of reach.

Alternative Sleep Arrangements for Dogs

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom – When sharing your bedroom with your dog isn’t viable or preferred, various alternative sleep arrangements can still ensure your pet feels safe, comfortable, and cherished. It’s vital to remember that each dog’s needs and preferences may differ, necessitating individualized sleep solutions.

  • Dog Bed in Your Bedroom: An ideal middle ground could be to place a comfortable dog bed in your room, but not on your bed. This way, your dog still enjoys the proximity to you, offering a sense of security without disturbing your personal sleep space.
  • Dog Bed in a Separate Room: Designating a separate, quiet room for your dog can also be a good idea. This room should have a comfortable dog bed or crate and, preferably, familiar smells to make your pet feel at ease.
  • Dog Crate: Crates can be a haven for dogs, providing a den-like space. If your dog is crate trained, this can be an excellent option. Ensuring the crate is comfortable, adequately sized, and never used for punishment is essential.
  • Dog-Proofed Area: If a separate room isn’t available, consider setting up a dog-proofed area in a quiet corner of your home. This area should have a comfortable bed, access to water, and safety measures like gates or barriers to prevent access to dangerous items.
  • Heated Dog Beds: For colder climates or breeds susceptible to chill, heated dog beds could provide the warmth and comfort your dog needs for a peaceful night’s sleep.
  • Calming Dog Beds: These special beds are designed with raised rims and super-soft filling to mimic the feeling of a mother’s fur. They can be particularly beneficial for anxious dogs.

Remember, whichever alternative you choose, ensure it’s a safe, cozy, and quiet space for your dog to rest. It’sMaintaining a consistent sleep routine is vital, helping your dog understand and settle into its new sleeping arrangement. Lastly, a goodnight pat or cuddle can make your dog feel loved and secure, reinforcing the bond between you two.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Space for Your Dog

Whether in your bedroom or elsewhere, creating a comfortable sleep space for your dog is essential for their well-being and contentment.

Dog Trainers’ Perspective on Co-Sleeping

Similarly, professional dog trainers’ opinions may differ, focusing on obedience, behavior, and boundary setting.

Comparing Co-sleeping Practices Around the World

Co-sleeping practices vary greatly worldwide, influenced by cultural norms and societal beliefs.

Addressing Common Concerns about Co-Sleeping with Dogs

Common concerns, such as hygiene, personal space, and potential dominance issues, should be addressed adequately before co-sleeping.

Tips for a Smooth Transition if You Choose to Co-Sleep

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom Tips for a Smooth Transition if You Choose to Co Sleep
Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom Tips for a Smooth Transition if You Choose to Co-Sleep

Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom – Choosing to co-sleep with your dog is a significant step that involves adapting to a new set of habits for you and your pet. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth transition into this new routine:

  • Gradual Introduction: A sudden transition could be overwhelming if your dog isn’t comfortable sleeping in your room. Consider introducing the concept gradually, starting with short daytime naps together, then progressing to overnight stays.
  • Set Clear Boundaries: If you prefer your dog not to sleep on your bed but in your room, define that boundary from the onset. Use commands, treats, or gentle redirection to guide your dog to its bed.
  • Maintain a Consistent Sleep Routine: Dogs thrive on routine. Establishing consistent sleep and wake-up times can benefit your dog’s adjustment to the new sleeping arrangement. This routine should also include a set bedtime routine, such as a final bathroom break and quiet time before lights out.
  • Keep Your Bedroom Clean: Keeping your bedroom and dog clean is crucial for health and hygiene reasons. Regular grooming and prompt pet-related mess clean-up will help maintain a pleasant environment.
  • Ensure Comfort for All: Your comfort is as crucial as your dog’s. If your dog’s movement or sounds disrupt your sleep, consider solutions such as noise-canceling earplugs or a larger bed.
  • Regular Exercise: It can assist provide your dog is tired and prepared for a fine night’s sleep. An evening walk can be a beneficial part of your bedtime routine.
  • Prepare for Nighttime Emergencies: Keep essentials such as a leash, waste bags, and clean-up materials handy in case of late-night bathroom needs or sickness.
  • Practice Patience: Be patient, positive, and consistent to ensure a successful transition.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s about finding a solution that confirms you and your dog have a restful night’s sleep.

When Co-Sleeping with Your Dog is Not an Option

For some, co-sleeping may be challenging. It’s important to understand and respect that every pet-owner relationship is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.


Should a Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom – Ultimately, deciding to invite your dog into your bedroom for sleep is deeply personal. Factors like personal comfort, lifestyle, and your dog’s specific needs should guide this choice.

Takeaways: Making the Best Decision for You and Your Dog 

Co-sleeping with your dog can be a rewarding experience if managed appropriately. This comprehensive exploration into the subject aims to equip readers with the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision, promoting harmony and well-being in their households.

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