Should My Dog Sleep In Bed With Me

Should a dog sleep with me?

Should my dog sleep in bed with me? The question was innocent enough. I attended a pet expo in Allentown in October, and a very lovely dog mom approached our expo booth to ask if it was somehow “out of pack order” to allow her dog to stay with her on the bed.

“I feel comforted when she is with me,” she explained. “My husband is a truck driver and so the dog is good company for me and I like having her on the bed.”

Then what’s the problem?

A great number of society’s naysayers, judgment police, and Internet “sources” say that sleeping in the same bed with a dog somehow breaks up the pack order and shows weakness on your part.


Sleeping dogs
Some people just sleep better with a dog (or more) by their side.

So Speaketh the Truth

As a dog mom my entire adult life, I allow myself to both:

  1. Be in the company of dogs and
  2. Interview and find myself in the presence of canine behavioral experts

Dogs who sit on your couch and/or want to get on the bed and snooze with you are not trying to rule your life. On the contrary: They simply want to be next to you!

Sleeping puppies
Danger: Puddle of cutenes alert

Comfortable, Much?

I’m the first to admit I will move over for the sake of the dog. My spouse and I find ourselves crammed into a fetal position like lotus flowers while the dog sprawls out froggy style and snores to his heart’s content.

It gives comfort and joy.

[Tweet “My dog and I share a bed and I am proud of it!”]

I laugh at myself in doing so because I know what it is like to have an empty space in that bed. For those of you who have loved and lost a pet, you know that angst and hell-on-earth feeling when they are no longer in your life. I carry that suitcase of grief daily. Hell yes, my dog sleeps on my bed. He has the choice of sleeping on his own doggie bed, and sometimes when we kick or disturb the King’s pooch’s slumber, he will jump off the bed. Does your ever do that heavy exhale thing when they are annoyed with you?

Until that time, he is welcomed and encouraged to lay down beside us for his rest.


When Not to Let Fido on the Bed

Because this is a reality-based blog, I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t approach the “sometimes there are instances when a dog is best served not on a bed with his humans” theory. Those times include:

If there is more than one dog in the house and there is a chance for a brawl to occur in the middle of the night: You know, if someone bumps a paw, a tail, or tries to get too close.

If you fear rolling on the dog and causing the dog harm: This has happened to people and can you imagine?

Sleeping dogs

Owner guarding is an all too real issue where a bed mate suddenly joins the pack: you know, mommy has a boyfriend/girlfriend. Suddenly Fido is expected to share his “den” with some hairy dude. Said hairy dude just might want to engage in things with mommy that the dog finds threatening. This is the reason most people politely have the dog leave the room during physical relations.

In other words, out goes the dog when sex happens.

If a dog growls or snaps/snarls at a bed mate, this can also transcend into similar behaviors outside the bedroom, so be sure to speak to a positive behaviorist about that.

When a significant other has a problem with the dog being on the bed, that significant other is not so, well, significant in my life any longer. Thankfully, that isn’t my problem.

When there are dog-related or human-related medical problems, this is understandable for all parties involved if the dog is best on his bed or in his doggie area off the bed.

If puppy training is happening or a new dog is adopted, then sure: My dog was on the bed from day two in our lives on. I made the mistake of thinking having him in a kennel by my side as we slept was a good idea. We are the clingy type BOL!

Allergies to pets is one of the most common reasons that people don’t allow their dogs in the bedroom, let alone the bed. I actually have a mild allergy to dogs. It isn’t the dog’s hair or the fur that causes the reaction/allergies in humans. People are generally allergic to the dander of a dog, or flakes of dead skin, along with a dog’s saliva or even urine. So even if a dog has very short hair, any dog can potentially cause an allergic reaction. Allergy tests can be inconclusive, too, which is a whole other topic of discussion.

Something that helped me in the bedroom dog dander allergy wise is to use Breathe Right strips® on my nose when I sleep, put some Vaseline into my nasal passages at night, and to regularly use a decongestant or non-habit forming/non-steroidal nasal spray. I have allergies to other things, too, so the combo of these things is a win-win.

Breathe Rights nasal strips
I use the sensitive skin Breathe Right strips to avoid a “red mark” on my nose

What to Say to Naysayers

For those who say that dogs should never be allowed to sleep on a bed, here are a few snappy witticisms you are free to borrow. Of course, sometimes the best response is no response.

They say: “Dogs belong in a kennel or on a floor, not on a human bed.”

Your reply: “People used to sleep in caves and look at us now!”

I love that one, especially if a guy tells me where dogs belong.

Let sleeping dogs lie
Can you count the dogs in bed?

They say: “Dogs are dirty and their feet and fur are filled with who knows what.”

Your reply: “Much like the skin cells that humans are shedding all day and night, so we can co-exist together.”

They say: “Dogs need to know their place. You are supposed to be the alpha.”

You say: “I’m just glad my dog gives me some space on the bed.”

In all seriousness, it’s your life, your name on the birth certificate, and you owe no one an explanation. In this day and age of social confrontation, the delete key is a wonderful thing.


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.


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  1. Love this! I so wish Reya and Ivi would do this! They were starting to be crate trained before they even came to us. Sleeping time seems to be their ‘unwind’ time’, if that makes any sense. With all of Reya’s nice, memory foam beds, her preferred sleeping spot is an old rug I was considering tossing when she was a pup, She curls on it, relaxes, and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Ivi’s spot is right next our giant bean bag chair in the office. If they don’t choose those spots, they go in their crates with a favorite toy.

    When we were in NJ for a few months with Daniel working she tried getting up with the bed on us once, felt the memory foam mattress, and jumped off immediately like it was the worst thing ever. I’m excited if I decided to relax on the floor with a book and she decided to nap next to me. I think it has happened twice in three years and I was so excited when it did. It may be a malamute thing though – they are known for their independence. Our girls are a member of the pack and we let them do their thing. 🙂

    1. If that is what works for your pack, and they are happy and so are you all, then that is fantastic. The dogs have to feel comfy and know where their “relax” and “chill” spot(s). Sounds like Reya and Ivi have it covered. Dex is a bed hog, I must say. Snores like a truck driver sometimes, too.

  2. Love this!I had a Cocker,Penny as a teenager and she always slept on the bed with me.She would start out at my feet but my morning we were sharing my pillow plus she would be under the covers.Then for way too many years I was petless but when I did get my Cocker,Riley he slept between our feet and my goodness,please don’t even think about disturbing him during the night…lol,he would really grumble.Now we have our sweet Beauregard(also a Cocker)he sleeps between our upper bodies and loves to be petted during the night…he is our happy,delightful boy.
    My oldest son and his wife share their bed with 3 dogs and 3 cats and my daughter and her hubby don’t allow their cat and dog on the bed…it is a personal choice.Me,I love knowing that mine want to sleep with us.

    1. Hahahaha, Jackie – that is so cute about don’t even think about disturbing him during the night.

      Our Dexter, I should say, used to sleep on my head on my pillow. I think after about a year or so of that, he realized, “oh wait, I can OWN this entire bed” hahahahah

      Happy Holidays!

  3. Oh yes! We all sleep in the same bed.One curls close then pushes himself as close as he possibly can. The other slithers down along my side until he’s laying stretched along my leg; then he nestles his head on my foot. At some point they both move, but they always end up snuggled again by morning. The stretchy one will nestle on my feet or across my legs before the alarm goes off to keep me in bed longer. I love listening to their breathing and snores. When I travel for work, sleep is difficult because the boys aren’t there.

    When I have fosters, depending on the foster and their situation, they sleep with us, too. I’ve had four fosters who could not sleep with us — two where likely to attack my guys, one had weird bedtime issues, and one was newly blind puppy who was still working out when it was play time and sleep time and potty time.

  4. Mom always wanted the dog to sleep in bed but it wasn’t allowed. Poor Katie wasn’t even allowed to sleep in the bedroom. With me it switched to I could sleep in my own bed right next to Mom’s side of the bed, but with Bailie, she cried the first night, so Mom said who cares what others say, dog goes in bed. Bailie sleeps in bed every night and they both love it. Mom has tried to get me to sleep in bed too, but I prefer my own bed near her. Bailie usually wakes up Mom by kicking her in the face with her back paws a few times a week, but Mom doesn’t care. She says having a pup to cuddle with all night long is the very best ever, she only wishes I would join in but I don’t want to. We are not allowed on the furniture otherwise, but that is okay since Mom is usually on the floor with us anyway.

  5. Pierre sleeps snug as a bug curled up next to me in bed. Bentley isn’t allowed on the bed because it is too high up and being a Basset Hound, he could cause severe damage to his back, legs, etc. His bed is right nest to ours and he is perfectly happy snoring up a storm in his KONG bed. I do snuggle with him when he is on his bed, though! LOL!

  6. My dog was already eight years old when I got him, but from the first night he made it clear that his place for sleeping was under the covers of the bed, snuggled up next to me. I find it delightful except for the early morning pee break that he insists on. 🙂

  7. Our first dog gave us no chjoice. We bought 3 expensive dog beds, only to have him shred them to pieces, along with any other shreddable toy. So now he, and the others, sleep on the beds with us, and have kong toys and huge rope toys, and the biggest one has a Jolly Ball (made for horses to play with) that he cannot shred, and loves!

  8. I have trouble sleeping without my dogs in bed with me! Dogs are such pack animals and they naturally sleep with their pack so of course they should sleep with us.

  9. my 3 gals have always slept with me, they take the covers. i have been pushed off the bed, b/c the like to sleep touching me. the baby, now 5, used to sleep on my head. my dog that my parents kept for me and then would not give back when i was in college, Rose, would sleep across my mother’s neck, she called her her fur collar. my girls like to sleep under the covers as well. i even have steps to my bed for them, and when they jump off of the bed, i have a big bed at the side, so they wont hurt themselves jumping off of the bed. they are my family.

  10. They really do bring enormous amounts of joy and comfort. Dex looks really soft to sleep with!

    I didn’t think we would sleep with Matilda. I tried to have her sleep in her crate when we first brought her home, but my fiance wouldn’t have it. Somehow, that tiny tatertot managed to go to her potty pad in the middle of the night, and never had accidents at night. I thinks she was grateful.

    She’s amazing. She even kisses me goodnight and good morning. I love how she is magnetized to me, and how her tiny feet end up on my back, or over my heart. Her love has made me a better person.

  11. I really enjoyed this article! I have fallen prey to all of the “your dog won’t respect you if you don’t crate train them” BS. My 6 year old Great Dane Bella has slept in my bed since she was a few months old and has never slept in a crate. I’m bringing home a new Great Dane puppy in 6 weeks (SO EXCITED!!) and I’ve been grappling with how to train her; do I crate train her at night? What if she cries? I live in an apartment, will they evict me? But the simple answer is – I WANT her in bed with Bella and I. Why shouldn’t she sleep with us from day one and learn that we absolutely adore her and that’s where she belongs? After reading this, I am absolutely convinced that my gut instinct was right and she will be sleeping with us. Crate training is necessary for when I am not home, etc. but I want her to know that she is part of the family and sleeping in bed with me will be the perfect time to show that.

    THANKS AGAIN for the fantastic and thought-provoking article on a controversial topic 🙂

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