It’s been a long Australian winter and we must admit that on cold nights, when the hot water bottle is out of reach, letting the pup sleep between us is the next best thing!
Whether you’ve got a no bed policy or you share your bed with a hairy being (the kind that has more hair on its back than your partner), have you ever wondered if sleeping with your pet is safe?
Benefits of co-sleeping with your pet
Pets are the best at providing safety and comfort. In fact, humans have been co sleeping for ages. Indigenous Australians often slept with their dogs for warmth hence the expression: “three-dog night” meaning a night so cold you would need three dogs in bed to keep you warm.
These days, you might not be sleeping with your dog for warmth (although, as mentioned above, they make a pretty good substitute for a hot water bottle), other reasons might be the feeling of safety and security that they offer.
Let’s also not forget that our dogs loooove it, maybe even more than we do, and it is a great way to strengthen our bond. After all, dogs and pack animals will often sleep as close to each other as they possibly can.
Which brings us to the question: are there any health concerns for sharing our beds with our pets?
The risks of sleeping with your dog
I’m pretty sure if I told my doctor that my dog’s butt sometimes ends up on my pillow, he would find it hard to hide his disapproval.
Yes, dogs do carry bacteria and parasites but the risk of transmitting any disease is extremely low thought it may be greater if your immune system is already compromised.
Sleeping with your pet might accentuate allergies, meaning that you’re likely to experience aggravated symptoms. One simple way to prevent this could be to make sure your dog sleeps at the end of your bed and uses its own blanket.
However, if you’re healthy and your dog is healthy, there are no health risks in co-sleeping! That’s good news, right? Not so fast…
Some people will argue that by letting your dog sleep with you, you’re only aggravating existing behavioural issues or creating new ones. Typically cited is the confusion you’re creating in your dog’s mind. Is he the top dog/pack leader now?
Rest assure, this myth has been debunked! Dogs like to sleep with us simply because it is nice and cosy, they love being in our company and they will not think they’re the boss as a result.
Another behavioural issue mentioned is resource guarding, where your dog will try and guard his/her spot on the bed and show aggression towards people or pets trying to take that spot away. Admittedly not great for date nights.
Thankfully, this type of behaviour can easily be resolved through training.
The ultimate disturbance worth noting is the one to your sleep! Waking up in the middle of the night with your dog’s butt in your face or a paw pressing into your back might not be the best way to catch some zzz. The size of your dog is also to be taken into consideration. There is no doubt that sleeping with a chihuahua is quite different to sharing a bed with a Great Dane.
It’s up to you to decide if you want your beauty sleep disturbed!
Do you have a no bed policy in your household? Let us know in the comments!
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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to help dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub