If you read my previous post titled ‘5 Great Reasons Your dog Should Sleep With You: Gaining Comfort, Strengthening the Bond, and Feeling Safer While You Sleep’, you’ll know I’m in favor of them being in the bedroom with you. The next decision to make is whether your dog should sleep on the bed with you and on his own bed beside yours.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help make the decision:
1. Will Your Dog Grow More?
This is important to consider because dogs love a routine. If you’ve established a pattern to let him sleep in your bed with you when he’s small, he’ll want to do so when he’s full grown too. Your 12-pound puppy may grow to be 80 pounds. Think about him trying to squeeze in between the headboard and your head or lay at your feet, so you’ll have no leg room when he’s full grown. This may cause your quality of sleep to decrease. So maybe you’ll go out and get a bigger bed – expensive. And dogs love to pack meaning they will still want to lay up against you, no matter the size of the bed. And it may be more confusing to your dog if you try to retrain him to sleep in his own bed when he’s full grown after you’ve let him sleep in your bed as a puppy.
I always say “What you want your dog to do at 8 years old, teach him at 8 weeks old if you got him as a puppy”. We are creatures of habit, including our dogs. So if you do not want your 80-pound labrador sleeping at your head when he is 8 years old, do not let him sleep there when he is an 8-week old cuddly ball of fur.
2. Could Your Dog Fall Off Your Bed and Injure Himself?
Dogs move around in their sleep just like we do. If they sleep on the edge of the bed, or even if they don’t, the risk of falling off the bed is a painful possibility.
3. Do You Live in A Cold or Hot Climate?
Some people like the warmth of their dog in their bed, but if you live in a hot climate or it gets hot in the summer, this extra warmth may not be wanted. Your dog may not understand why you want him to sleep in your bed in the winter but not in the summer. Remember dogs love routine and consistency.
4. Are You A Restless Sleeper?
Is your dog at risk of you accidentally kicking him off the bed because you have restless leg syndrome or move around so much at night? Or is your dog at risk of you rolling over and squishing him during sleep? Again, another painful possibility of your dog being put at risk for injuries.
5. Are You A Light Sleeper?
As stated above, dogs move around in their sleep like we do. So if you are a light sleeper, your dog’s every move may wake you up, therefore decreasing your quality of sleep. As you probably know, many of us do not get enough sleep anyway.
6. Is Your Room Dog-Proofed?
If your dog is a puppy or chewer or both, you will want to make sure and dog-proof your room so you both can sleep soundly. Block off electrical cords, blind cords, and any other things on the floor and around the room your dog can get hold of while you are sleeping. A safe thing to do is to provide your dog with his own crate and bed and give him an indestructible toy such as a Kong to play with if he wakes during the middle of the night. If your dog does not yet sleep through the night, providing him with a short play session then an outdoor potty session right before bedtime may help settle him down.
7. Is Your Dog is a Potty Trained?
Of course, you do not want your dog peeing in your bed. And puppies do not have the bladder strength to go all night without having to potty, no matter where he is sleeping. He will likely need to go out to potty during the middle of the night no matter where he sleeps. He may give you clues that he needs to go out, clues such as whining, pacing, or panting. If you decide to let him sleep on your bed, it’s a good idea to put a waterproof mattress pad cover on your bed – just in case.
8. Are there two people sleeping in your bed?
Maybe you are sleeping alone these days, but that might change. Are there already two people sleeping in your bed? Will there be enough room in the bed for all of you? Will your partner want to have a dog sleeping in the bed? Remember it will be hard for your dog to understand being allowed to sleep on your bed sometimes but not other times.
Only you can decide where you’d like your dog to sleep when you get him. Remember dogs tend to sleep well through the night when they are with their owners. You just need to decide whether it is in their own bed or yours.