Should My Dog Sleep on the Bed?

Posted May 23, 2017 in Dog Questions

There are thousands of people in the world that let their dogs sleep with them in bed. How could you resist your furry friend cuddling up to you?  In a recent study, 42% of dog owners said they keep their pup in bed with them at night. It is hard to say no to our dogs, but can allowing them to sleep with us be a problem? Here are some reasons why we should or shouldn’t let our dogs spend the night in our beds!

Why Do We Do It?

Having our dogs sleep with us give us a sense of companionship you might not have if you live alone or are single. As many professionals have said, they provide security, warmth, and a sense of protection. We love the feeling of having our pet that we trust and love with us in our beds!

Dominance Problem

Many schools of thought say that allowing your dog to sleep with you creates submission on your part. Furthermore, if you allow them to be in your bed, you are loosing your status as the alpha and pack leader, which in turn leads to dominance issues if it continues long term. However, others schools of thought say that if you do not have these issues already, then letting your dog sleep with you will not create them. On the other hand, if you are having dominance issues, keeping your dog in your bed can be a problem and cause these issues to get worse. Structure and accountability with either thought paradigm are key to living with your dog on or off the bed.


Unfortunately, sleeping with our dogs can also get us sick. It is very rare, but you can become infected with diseases that are spread from pets to humans, such as chagas disease. Fleas are also a more common problem that could be transferred to your bed.  Of course, many vets say the risk is very small and if you keep them on their flea and worm preventatives, you will be fine.

Tips for Sleeping with Dogs

If you do choose to let your dog stay in bed with you, there are some rules you should put into place. Instruct your dog to stay on the floor for 10 minutes while you are in bed. Then invite them up. This keeps you in control and reiterates that you are the dominant force in the relationship. You should also be sure that your dog is calm and relaxed in bed. They shouldn’t be jumping or nudging.

Should They Go to the Floor?

When your dog can’t follow these rules, it may be better to keep them on the floor in their own dog bed or crate. If you do need to make this change, it is important to do this process gradually. Start by choosing a dog bed and putting in on your own bed at the foot. Then move the dog bed to the floor after they’ve gotten used to sleeping in it. Continue to reinforce by instructing them to go to their pillow or bed instead of waiting for them fail. If you want them in the room, but not on the bed, put the crate or dog bed in your room.

Whatever decision you choose, you need to make sure you and your dog are having a healthy and happy sleep. Be aware if there are any changes if your dog’s behavior or sleeping habits. Always remember healthy boundaries generate healthy relationships.

Good luck!

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