The pros and cons of sleeping with a dog and its owner
Mar 03, 2023
Why do dogs like to spend the night next to their owners?
1. Dogs still want to be as close to their "group" as possible when they sleep
The "group" here means that in the wild, when the ancestors of dogs stayed in the kennel, they would of course huddle together to sleep. Only dogs that have been expelled from the pack will sleep alone away from the pack.
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Likewise, if a dog is chased out of his master's room every night, he will feel that he has been cast out by "the pack." Of course, if it is a pack of guard dogs or a pack of hounds, there will be no such problem, because they will keep each other company. However, if it is a pet dog living alone with its owner, he will find it difficult to understand why it has to avoid it and separate from its "partner" when it's time to sleep.
2. Want to sleep more comfortably
Why are spring beds so expensive? Because it is soft and comfortable, plus there is a big quilt, there is no way to compare it with a kennel! The dog will think, the owner sleeps on such a comfortable bed, no wonder I can’t get up every day, and I have to go to sleep.
What are the benefits of sleeping with a dog?
1. To some extent, sleeping with a dog can relieve the owner's anxiety and improve the sense of security. A sleeping dog on the bed will keep you going through the night with ease and peace of mind.
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2. At the same time, the dog is also the perfect bed warmer to keep you warm on a cold night.
3. Sleeping with a dog can increase the dog's sense of comfort and companionship, and enhance the relationship between the owner and the dog. Wake up every day to a dog wagging its tail looking at you. It really can bring you a good mood for the day!
But can dogs sleep in the same bed as their owners? Are they disrupting our sleep?
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A recent study in the United States shows that this problem does not seem to exist. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix studied 40 dogs (all adults) who slept with their owners in bedrooms. The owners were generally good sleepers with no known sleep disorders. After seven days of testing, the researchers found that both humans and dogs got a good night's sleep when dogs were allowed to sleep in the bedroom. The sleep efficiency of humans, that is, the proportion of time spent sleeping in bed, is 81%, and the sleep efficiency of dogs is 85%. Levels above 80% are generally considered satisfactory. Owners slept slightly better when their pets were not in the bed, but dogs slept the same whether they were in the bed or elsewhere in the bedroom.
"This breaks down the notion that dogs shouldn't be allowed to sleep in the bedroom and should sleep somewhere else," said the study's senior author, Dr. Crane, a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine.
So, what are the hazards or problems of letting dogs sleep with people?
1. If people sleep with dogs, the quality of sleep may still be affected. The sleep cycle of dogs is 3 hours, while the sleep cycle of humans is much longer than that of dogs. Even when sleeping, dogs are always vigilant. Under such circumstances, if the dog wakes up, it may indeed affect the quality of human sleep.
2. It may make the dog think that he is the "boss"
Many dogs hope to be able to sleep in the same bed with their owners, and dogs will use various methods to get their owners to allow them to go to bed. Many owners just can't accept the dog's small eyes, so they let them go to bed together. Some people think that in the long run, the dog will easily confuse the status of the owner with itself, and will feel that he is actually the boss. If you think about it, the master will definitely do it. This will have adverse effects in the process of getting along with each other in the future. Of course, this view is also opposed. Dr. Siracusa, director of animal behavior at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Research Center, said that where pets sleep "depends on the temperament of the animal." Beds don't make dogs feel great. "Dogs know that their relationship with humans is different from their relationship with other dogs, and they regulate their interactions with humans in the home, not to create a hierarchical relationship," he said. "If there's nothing wrong with dogs sleeping with people, and the owners are happy to let their pets sleep in the bedroom, or on the bed, I don't think there's a problem."
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3. Some dogs do not like to sleep with people, or have a strong reaction to external stimuli. Don't force your dog to sleep with you at this time. Some dogs never want to sleep with their owners, especially if their owners snore at night or move around a lot. "Dogs want a safe space when they sleep and don't want to be disturbed," just like people. In addition, if the dog is sleeping on the bed and the owner rolls over and inadvertently kicks the dog, some dogs will startle and react out of fear—growling or barking to wake the sleeper.
4. Some dogs are not suitable for living in the bedroom
Examples include very young or elderly dogs who may not be able to sleep through the night, or sick, active dogs who may become aggressive when startled or wake up suddenly.
5. The bedroom is no longer a suitable place for a dog to sleep if a new baby is added to the family and will be sleeping in the same room as the parents.
While unlikely, the possibility of pets suffocating infants and young children is real, and space in the bed is a real concern. There is also a question of whether the immunity of infants and young children can adapt to dogs, especially the occasional dirty things that dogs bring. Even if dogs are their own children in some people's eyes, they don't have to let their human children take risks.
6. It may cause people to be allergic. Dogs have very thick hair, especially for some long-haired and hair-shedding dogs, which are dangerous to human respiratory tract and other aspects. For people with allergies, Especially for children, contact or inhalation of pet hair can cause allergic reactions, manifested as rash, rhinitis, cough, asthma, etc.
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7. Let the dog become more clingy, sleeping in the same bed with the dog will gradually become a habit for the dog. Then the dog's independence may become worse and worse. Once the owner goes out early and returns late every day, this kind of dog that is often ignored and unable to leave the house will be prone to depression and anxiety. Also, when the dog gets dirty from playing, it runs to the bed before it has time to clean and take a bath. Think about it, what kind of situation is this?
If your dog has been sleeping in your bed or bedroom and it's interfering with your sleep, you've decided to stop him from sleeping with you. It is better to remove the dog from the bedroom step by step, that is, gradually transfer, rather than kick the dog out of bed or throw the dog out of the bedroom suddenly. This may mean first moving the dog out of the bed to another comfortable spot in the bedroom before moving him to the door.
Of course, whether a person can sleep with a dog depends on the owner's own psychology and the specific situation at home. Although there are still many people who do not understand and do not approve of the practice of dogs and humans sleeping together, as long as the daily cleaning of dogs is done well, in most cases there will be no major problems.