Should I Let My Dog Sleep With Me?
Do you allow your dog to join you in bed at night? According to research, about half of all pet owners let their animal companions sleep with them in their beds or bedrooms. Nonetheless, at least one well-intentioned individual has probably advised you that your dog should sleep on the floor, in his crate, or in his own bed. Co-sleeping with your dog, however, has a number of advantages, and doing so is not shameful, according to recent research.
A study by Smith et al. titled "A Multispecies Approach to Co-Sleeping: Incorporating Human-Animal Co-Sleeping Habits into Our Knowledge of Human Sleep" was just published in the journal Human Nature. The researchers compared adult-child co-sleeping to the habit of letting dogs sleep in beds or bedrooms.
The study made the point that it is not a new tendency for people to sleep in the same bed or bedroom as their pets. In reality, co-sleeping with animals was regarded as advantageous in certain previous civilizations. For warmth and defense against evil spirits, Aboriginal Australians, for instance, frequently slept close to their dogs and/or dingoes. Regrettably, co-sleeping in current culture is more often associated with disadvantages than advantages.
There are legitimate health risks associated with sharing a bed with your dog. For instance, human allergies may become worse. Also, there is a chance that diseases could be passed from humans and dogs alike. Such transmission is uncommon, though.
Sleep quality may also be impacted. Past research has revealed that people who sleep in the same bed as their dogs experience more sleep problems than people who don't have pets. The fact that dogs sleep polyphasically, averaging three sleep/wake cycles per hour at night, as opposed to humans, who sleep monophasically, may help to explain this discrepancy (one period of sleep over a 24-hour cycle). Dogs may sleep less soundly than humans since they are also always listening for sounds as they are dozing off.
There are many urban legends involving dogs sleeping on their owners' beds. For instance, your dog may begin to feel superior to you or develop spoiltness. Although there may be a connection between sharing a bed and behavioral issues, it is unclear if co-sleeping causes or results in behavioral issues first. A dog who sleeps with his owner could experience issues with separation anxiety. But did the excessive attachment come about because of cosleeping or because the owner allowed the dog into the bed because of the dog's excessive attachment?
Sometimes the problems are unrelated, and cosleeping only draws attention to problematic behavior that already exists. For instance, a dog who struggles with resource guarding may snarl and bark to defend his sleeping area on your bed. The issue, however, is not the co-sleeping; rather, it is your dog's needless defense of what he perceives to be his possessions and territory.
For a well-mannered, well-behaved dog, it's doubtful that sleeping in your bed or bedroom will do anything other than make your dog happy, make you feel better, and strengthen the bond between dog and owner. However, give your dog his own resting area while you seek advice from a qualified trainer, a behavior consultant, or your veterinarian if your dog is displaying signs of aggression or any other problem behavior that is being exacerbated by co-sleeping.
The researchers add that even if there are risks to co-sleeping with a dog, a lot of owners do it since there are probably more positives than problems. Owning a pet has been linked to numerous benefits for one's physical and mental health, and co-sleeping improves the time spent with the pet, which may amplify those advantages. Co-sleeping, for instance, can enhance the comfort and connection your dog offers.
Having your dog at your side as you sleep can reduce anxiety and give you a sense of security. You may sleep soundly through the night knowing that your light-sleeping dog will let you know if anything unusual happens. Also, dogs are excellent bed warmers, keeping you warm on a chilly night. And finally, nothing beats waking up to a puppy wagging its tail.
The research investigation came to the conclusion that, despite the fact that society may not currently see co-sleeping favorably due to its numerous advantages, there is no need for unwarranted worry. I believe that those of us who share our mattresses and bedrooms with our dogs already understand that any annoyance or disruption is well worth a cozy night's sleep.