Snuggling up to your beloved pooch can be extremely comforting. However, sharing your bed with your dog also comes with a health warning. A survey by Animal Friends found that half of all dog and cat owners in the UK sleep with their pets, despite the health risks this poses.
Training dogs to sleep in their own dog bed is a sensible option, but we’re not against the occasional snuggle. This article highlights a few health issues to consider if you do decide to invite your pooch up for a cuddle.
1. Disturbed sleep
Just as your partner can wake you up during the night, so can your dog. Like us, dogs have vivid dreams and it’s possible you could get a dig in the ribs as your dog rapidly moves their legs whilst they dream of chasing balls in the park. According to the NHS, sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, increased risk of diabetes as well as other chronic conditions.
2. Aggression issues
Sharing a bed can lead to a confused perception of dominance or defensiveness in your pooch and can lead to aggressive behaviour. Dogs may guard the bed itself or one of the occupants. If the dog is location guarding, it is likely to growl, snap or bite when it feels its area is being invaded. If the dog is person guarding, it is likely to show similar signs of aggression if the individual they are protecting is approached in the bed.
3. Habits are hard to change
You’re likely to spend a significant amount of money on a good bed. You shouldn’t be surprised that it’ll be hard for your dog to go back to his or her own dog bed after they’ve had a taste of superior luxury! Changing ingrained behaviour is not impossible, however, it can be more difficult than setting standards early on. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary sleepless nights, train your dog to sleep in their own bed when they’re a puppy or new to your home.
4. Wetting the bed
Bedding can be expensive. As can the process of cleaning it. Washing your dog’s bed rather than having your own mattress dry cleaned and bedding thoroughly sanitised can be much more economical and will also avoid the bad smells that unwanted leakage can cause.
Every time dogs go outside, allergens such as dust and pollen latch onto their fur and paws and travel with them to bed. Allergens can cause cold like symptoms, itchy eyes and definitely give you trouble sleeping.
6. Other nasties
There are a whole host of other health implications that might make you think twice before inviting your dog to share the bed. Dogs may have fleas, ticks or mites, which aren’t pleasant for humans. There’s also a likelihood that they’ve stepped in or even eaten poop whilst playing outside.
While it can be tempting to snuggle down with your furry BFF, do it with an awareness of the risks. Your dog needs their own place to bed down and relax. They may prefer a luxurious dog bed or a warm cozy mattress. Whatever their preference is, make sure it doesn’t become your bed!