The Dangers of Sleeping With Dogs

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sleeping dog

Beth Bauer’s cutie snoring away

Is it dangerous for dogs to sleep with us? Every now and again this debate rears its canine head, and we’ve seen it floating around our blogosphere travels lately. So let’s open up the great dog sleeping with human debate, shall we? The danger of sleeping with dogs in our household are but one: That we wake up chilly at 3 am because Dexter has all the covers.

Let sleeping dogs lie, so the saying goes, as many dog moms and dads attest that the best night’s sleep is produced when a dog is lying by their side, pillow to pillow, tail to tush, snout to sheet. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, almost half of dogs sleep with their owners in their owner’s beds.

sleeping dog

Dogs are creatures of habit, so if a dog enjoys roaming into his kennel at night, why not allow him the comfort and “den-like” ritual of hunkering down into his favorite nighttime spot. Many of us, self included, prefer the soothing rhythms of a dog slumbering by our side, nestled in for a good night’s sleep.  For the first two years of his life, my dog, Dexter, used my pillow for his own. This, for me, is quite the norm and many a pet parent would nod in agreement.

Adversely, there is a school of thought, and recently some more scientifically proven studies, revealing that sleeping with a dog might not be good for our health. From the “why’d you put a pin in my balloon” side of things, pet dander may instigate or trigger human allergies. Further, what Fido walks on outside is what Fido brings into the house and onto the bed linens.  Diseases that can be transmitted between pets and people, aka “zoonotic,” do exist, but this is in the bedroom as well as any other room in the house.

sleeping dog

Dogs who shift during sleep can cause disruptions in human sleep, making it harder to ensure a solid night’s rest. The risk of rolling on Rover or the dog falling off the bed is also of consideration from the “no don’t do it” school of thought.  From the pages of “dominance and pack structure” behaviorists, there is a widely-held belief that the leader of the pack should be the only one allowed on the bed to maintain order, structure, and hierarchy.

Phooey I say. If you enjoy having a dog (or more) sleep with you and his or her presence does not compromise one’s health, pile on the pooches.

sleeping dog

A friend of Fidose, Terry Casillas of Gulfport, Mississippi, says that she has been sleeping with dogs almost her whole adult life. As the founder of Tired Dog Rescue, she loves the comforting feeling of have a pack of dogs sleeping on her bed. At any given time, at least seven dogs can be found slumbering next to her.

If our recent sleeping dog photo contest is any indication, our pets are sharing their beds, homes, hearts, and everything else with us.

sleeping dog

The emotional effects of having a dog in our lives are immeasurable, as study after study reveals.  In fact, the Center for Disease Control reports that pets can help to lower our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and diminish feelings of loneliness. After a long day, many of us find solace in retreating to our beds and having our pooches snuggle next to us.

sleeping dog

What’s the “norm” in your household? Do you allow your pet(s) to sleep on the bed? Weigh in and let us know in the comments below.  I bet some of the folks in the BlogPaws blog hop below share a bed with their pet:


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  1. I am not opposed to dogs sleeping with people, but none of mine sleep with me. It is their choice. They are all very hot natured, and overheat after only a few minutes of cuddling.

  2. The rule in our house is dogs off the bed when my husband and I are sleeping. With 3 dogs, there would be no room for humans. By morning, though–usually on weekends when we’re sleeping in–one or more of the pups will hop up and snuggle with us.

    When my husband is away, though, all bets are off and all the dogs are allowed up.

    –Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

  3. Awwww! Tater (being our only dog kid) does not sleep in our bed…and Wubbikins has staked her claim as the bed sleeper…he really likes to sleep the day and night away in the special bed we had custom made that looks out over the window to the street…because you never know if that UPS man is coming at 2am! LOL!

  4. These pics of sleeping dogs are irresistibly cute! I don’t get a good nights sleep if Chuy isn’t next to me!

  5. Linda Szymoniak says:

    I have five Treeing Walker Coonhounds. My senior girl sleeps on an orthopedic bed in my daughter’s room, but the other four sleep on my bed. When I’m out of town and don’t have my dogs sleeping with me, I have the hardest time sleeping. In my case, I don’t even have to keep a blanket on my bed, most nights. I just use a sheet. I have a living, breathing, furry blanket of dogs. They all sleep pushed up against me, so they keep me nice and warm in winter and make me need to have a fan blowing over the bed in the heat of summer. I can’t even imagine NOT having my pups sharing my bed (although I wish I had a queen sized at times).

  6. Katherine says:

    My Bostons sleep with me. One starts the night on top of my legs, head on my feet. He wanders elsewhere on the bed throughout the night and returns to his original spot shortly before the alarm goes off. The other starts and stays tucked up under one arm. If I’m on my side, he curls up and pushes himself as close as he can to me. He likes to be spooned. I miss them when I travel for work. No matter the temperature in the room or how many blankets I pile on, I can never get warm or settled enough. I always sleep well with my boys’ soft snores as night music.

  7. Larrielle says:

    Since Bentley was a pup he’s been sleeping in bed with me. I never thought otherwise for him not too. It’s actually the moments when he jumps off the bed to sleep in other parts of the house that makes me wonder “why doesn’t he want to sleep with me?”. It’s a comforting feeling knowing that I have the love of my life by my side.

  8. I will be the first to admit that I don’t sleep well with Nike. She’s big and restless and most of the time she crowds me right out of the bed. But on the other hand, when she isn’t in bed with me, I can’t sleep because she’s not there. Lol. There’s no making me happy. :)

  9. Daisy sleeps in our bed just about every night. It’s a king size bed but she usually hogs atleast half of it, so we do keep a dog bed in the room so we can send her there if we get too hot or need some alone time LOL!

  10. Our middle pup little boy always sleeps with us, cuddling with whomever my need it most. The eldest and youngest girl pups sleep wherever the want, but most often end up with us. Our sleep patternsd an allergies are ok

  11. We admitted how I started sleeping with the Lady for a blog post. Sleeping with one dog is a lot less dangerous than sleeping with 3 cats. Trust us on this. Love Dolly

  12. Christine Hoy says:

    I was diagnosed with severe allergies 7 years ago, and pets are high on my list of causes. I’ve had pets all my life and even worked at a Veterinary Hospital for almost 20 years. It’s quite upsetting to now be allergic to my favorite thing in the whole world. But, I had an anaphylactic reaction and it scared the heck out of me. My allergist suggested allergy shots and cutting down my antigen load, I told him from day one that the pets weren’t going anywhere, so we agreed they weren’t allowed in the bedroom. We also have large dogs and I’m not sure that I’d be able to sleep with them in the bed with us. He also suggested that no clothing/shoes worn outside should come into the bedroom. This helps keep the antigens down in the room where I sleep. So the dogs don’t sleep on the bed, and the cats aren’t supposed to either. But when we lost our cat a year ago, his brother (not littermates, but they grew up together from the age of 8 months) was so heartbroken that he walked around the house howling for 3 months. He’s now been diagnosed with kidney failure, so you can bet he’s sleeping in bed with us for however long he has. Are my allergies flaring up? – Yes. is it worth it? Yes! I think if a person has well behaved dogs, they don’t have allergies to those dogs, the dogs are young enough not to hurt themselves getting up & down off the bed, and their sleep patterns aren’t disrupted by the pets – let the dogs sleep with them. To each his own.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      You know what is interesting? I had an allergist tell me I was allergic to dogs and I should “get rid of them.” I um, got rid of the allergist, on the right meds and now I cuddle with a Cocker to the max. Rock on, Christine.

  13. Bentley sleeps on his bed next to ours and Pierre sleeps in his kennel. Bentley is not allowed on the bed because I’m afraid he would fall and it is too high for him to get up and down on his own. Since Bassets are prone to spinal injuries, I don’t let him up there. He only recently became allowed on the couch. I’m a bit overprotective. Pierre would sleep in our bed but that wouldn’t be fair. We used to sleep with two huge German Shepherds every night, so I’m not opposed to the idea! I actually miss it.

  14. Oh yes all the animals are on the bed. It used to be 4 big chesapeakes but now that norman passed it is now 3 chessies with a cat that took Normans place. Not much room for us but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  15. Bailie sleeps in bed with Mom, I sleep in my own bed next to Mom’s bed, and Katie prefers to sleep downstairs. Mom says sleeping with Bailie is so easy, but it is the cats that wake her up all night and early in the morning, not the dog.

  16. Great post! I actually think the biggest danger is building anxiety in a dog, or a dog beginning to look at their owner as a resource that they must protect. Some dogs are more prone to anxiety or guarding but there’s potential in every dog. I only allow Kayo to come up on the couch from time to time when I invite her. She’s otherwise nestled in her own bed right next to mine. Just about daily I’ll go hang with her on her bed and give her a nice long massage, especially after our major exercise for the day. But she’s a working dog and prone to anxiety so sleeping with me daily would make her very unhappy in the long run.

  17. You haven’t slept well unless you’ve slept with your pet!!!! That’s all I have to say!

  18. Adorable photos! I agree with you – having a pet in bed with you is worth the risk. There are risks involved with everything if you think about it. If you drink too much water, you could drown. We still think of drinking water as a good thing. If my kitties want to cuddle me in bed, I’m going to allow it :)

  19. Sally and Tino both slept in bed with us – well Tino about 50% of the time. Becca, Jack and Maggie have never attempted to, so they just don’t. Haven’t invited them up either…Jack’s too big of a lunk.

  20. It’s wonderful to have your cat or dog snuggle up with you at night. I’m glad to know it’s good for my health too. About half of the pictures of my pets has them lounging in my bed.

  21. Nancy Height says:

    Max sleeps with us every night. We have a king size bed but He has to sleep right up next to me. By morning I have been pushed all the way to the edge of the bed. Patches will come on the bed but only stays for a short time then jumps down and curls up in his bed that is right by my side of the bed. Maggie also prefers to sleep in her bed by my bed.

  22. I just got a new bed after about 100 years and could have been happy with a full but no, got to have room for the kitties to stretch out on! (if I had doggies, it would be the same) I don’t know what I would do if I had no warm, affectionate little body(ies) to feel leaning up against me. I actually think it’s some sort of primal human thing going back to when the tribe (including furry ones) slept in a “dog pile” (cats sort of pile, too) to keep cozy and feel safe.

  23. My dogs do not share my bed. I am one of those that comes from the pack structure standpoint.

  24. Oh and the Corso snoring? Gah! I have one that sounds like a jackhammer and one that sounds like a grown man! LOL

  25. Carla Fontaine says:

    I had 3 Gordon setters. Jake always slept right next to me with his head on my pillow. Dusty ended up at the foot of the bed! Lucy had bad hips that would still jump up! I lost my dogs in a divorce.. and miss sleeping with them every night. I still have my cat but it’s not quite the same

  26. Oh yes. Both my dogs sleep in the bed with us and that is their choice. They are free to roam wherever they please at night (except right now Sampson is recovering from surgery so he’s limited.) I don’t sleep well if my puppy isn’t snuggled against me. :0

  27. My dog Milo has slept with me from the first night I brought him home. It’s just me and him, so he gets the other pillow. We have our little routine…it’s actually funny how similar his sleeping preference it so my own preference when sleeping with someone. We both think cuddling is fine for a few minutes, but then he gets up, turns him self around and faces way from me and lays back down with a bit of space between us. He’s doing exactly the same thing I’ve done with every guy who has shared my bed.

    Every foster dog (other than the 2 baby puppies who where my first fosters), join us in bed too. Every dog has different preferences. One wanted to crawl under the covers and sleep by my feet. Another would start in the bed but jump down and sleep on the floor after a few minutes. Luckily, being a dog owner means I won’t ever have to sleep alone again.

  28. We’ve never had a dog in our home that hasnt slept in the bed with us. At this point in time we have 3 in bed at once and twice that many cats LOL!

  29. Milo slept in his crate during the puppy and adolescent days. Now that he is a mature adult, he gets more privileges. I love having him snuggle with me. He sleeps with me every night, now, except for the nights when my son scoops Milo up and carries him off to sleep with him!

  30. I think there should be an article for dogs – “The dangers of sleeping with Hoomans”. :-)


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