Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed?

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP
By Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Oct. 23, 2023
A pet parent sleeps with their dog.

Some people frown at having their dog sleep in their bed, often believing they belong in their own beds. Others love sleeping with their pups.

While it’s true that some dog behavior problems may worsen when dogs are allowed to sleep in bed with their pet parents, there are some benefits as well.

Let’s discuss whether letting your dog sleep in your bed is a good or bad thing.

Should You Let Your Dog Sleep With You?

There's no short and simple answer to this question. It’s a maybe—an answer that’s more complicated than you’d think.

Allowing your dog to sleep with you increases your bond, lets you spend more time with your pup, and gives you a warm companion to snuggle up to.

However, there are a number of things you should consider before making a decision  to allow your dog to sleep in bed with you.

It may be wise to wait until your dog is an adult and has been properly trained before you start to allow them into the bed at night. It’s much easier to relax your rules over time than to make them stricter.

If your puppy has always been allowed in your bed at night and you suddenly develops allergies, forcing the pup to now sleep outside the bedroom, everyone is likely to be upset.

But if your dog learns from a young age that it’s OK and safe to sleep in their own space, it’s much easier to make changes as lifestyles dictate.

Benefits of Sleeping With Dogs in Bed

Allowing your dog to sleep with you is an amazing bonding experience—there’s nothing like waking up to their happy tail wag and an eager look on your dog’s face each morning.

Additionally, nothing beats the warmth of a dog on a cold night. Few things are more comforting than spending the night cuddled up to your pup. 

However, there are some disadvantages, too.

What To Consider Before Sleeping With Your Dog

It isn’t always a good idea to sleep with your dog. In fact, there are some disadvantages to consider before allowing your pup to sleep with you.

By nature, pets tend to be continuously aware of their surroundings—and for many dogs, this includes when they are sleeping.

This may mean they will wake up quickly, easily, and often, and in the process wake you up too.

Although this could be a good thing in the case of a fire or a burglar, it could also be a bad thing if your dog is alerting you to a truck driving by or that the moon is shining through your window.

They also wake up several times over the night naturally, and shift positions frequently. For many, this can result in a disrupted sleep schedule for pet parents.

Some people have medical problems that could be made worse by sharing your bed with your dog. One common concern is allergies.

Perhaps you can get by with your dog’s hair and dander during the day, but when it surrounds you in bed, it can become overwhelming.

Or it could be an orthopedic or back problem that requires you to sleep in certain positions, something that could be prevented by your sprawling pup. 

Alternatively, some dogs have health problems that make it hard for them to get into the bed or to get comfortable.  Some pups may also need  to get up several times during the night to urinate or defecate, which may wake up everyone instead of having your pet use a potty pad near the front door.

As dogs get older or more frail, it’s possible that they could injure themselves getting off the bed without assistance.

Finally, there are some illnesses that can be spread between dogs and people. While the chances of contracting a disease from your pup is rare, they do increase with close contact, such as bed-sharing.

If you do choose to share your bed with your dog, make sure to learn about preventative care so you minimize the chance of getting ticks in your sheets and sharing tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease.

Your Dog Should Have Their Own Bed, Too

If you decide to share your bed with your pup, make sure that you provide a comfy, warm option just for your dog outside of your bed.

Sometimes, your dog may just want his own space, and will appreciate having a bed just for them.

Other times, your four-legged companion may feel hot and cramped and decide that the human bed isn’t the place for them right now.

It’s important that your dog has a place to call their own, even if you leave open the option of sharing a bed with you.

With so many sleeping arrangements available for dogs, it should be easy to find something nice that works for both of you—whether that means a padded kennel, a raised bed suite, or a specially designed orthopedic bed meant to relieve joint pain.

You may even find that you want to have different dog beds in different areas of the house!

Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed? FAQ

Are dogs happier when they sleep in your bed?

Most dogs do like spending time with their pet parents—but only if their parents are enjoying the time as well.

If it’s uncomfortable or not ideal for you to share your bed, your dog will sense this. As long as you treat your dog consistently, they will quickly adjust to the new “rule” and be content with their options.

Does sleeping with your dog cause separation anxiety?

It’s unclear whether sleeping with your dog causes separation anxiety, or makes separation anxiety worse.

Most veterinarians do feel that if your dog suffers from any degree of separation anxiety, it’s probably best that they learn to sleep in their own bed and alone.

This fosters confidence and security in the dog, which will likely help reduce the symptoms associated with separation anxiety.

At what age can a dog sleep in bed with you?

Opinions differ on this viewpoint. Many veterinarians feel that a dog should be fully mature and have learned basic training before they are allowed to sleep in the bed with their pet parents.

It’s best to wait until your dog is at least a year old before starting to “bend” the rules and allow your dog to sleep in the bedroom or on the bed.

Featured Image: GettyImages/Boris Jovanovic


Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP

WRITTEN BY

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP

Veterinarian

Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields...


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