Why Letting Your Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom is a Bad Idea

Introduction

Having your dog sleep in your bedroom can seem comforting at first. However, there are several important reasons not to allow your dog to sleep in your room. These include disrupted sleep for both you and your dog, behavioral issues that can develop, lack of personal space, added challenges with cleaning, safety concerns, and potentially negative impacts on your relationship. While it may seem harsh at first, establishing an ideal sleep space like a crate and training your dog to sleep there results in benefits for you, your dog, and your relationship in the long run.

Disrupted Sleep

Dogs can significantly disrupt their owner’s sleep in a number of ways. According to research by the Mayo Clinic, nearly half of pet owners say their pets wake them up at least once per night [1]. Dogs tend to be more disruptive than cats, with their barking, whining, licking, and jumping on the bed.

dogs can disrupt their owners' sleep through noise, movement, and other nighttime behaviors.

The most common sleep disruption is noise. Dogs may snore, bark, whine, or make other noises that wake up light-sleeping owners. According to one study, 20% of dogs snore, which can significantly impair sleep quality [2]. Some dogs also bark or growl in their sleep as they dream, waking up owners.

Movement is another major sleep disruption. Dogs change positions, jump on and off the bed, and some even walk around at night. This movement can shake the bed and constantly wake up owners. Dogs also often sleep right up against owners, so their movements immediately disturb them.

Overall, while dogs can be comforting, their presence and nighttime behaviors often reduce sleep quality and quantity for owners. Setting some boundaries is important for getting uninterrupted, high-quality sleep.

Behavioral Issues

Allowing your dog to sleep in your bedroom can lead to several behavioral issues over time. One major concern is separation anxiety. If your dog is used to sleeping in your bed every night, they may become extremely anxious when left alone or separated from you. This can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing, barking, or soiling areas of the house. According to research from VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs that sleep in their owner’s bed are much more likely to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone.

Letting your dog sleep in your bed can also create dominance issues within the home. Dogs view the bed as a privilege and letting them sleep there reinforces the idea that they are in charge. As pack animals, dogs associate the highest spot in the house with the leader. Sleeping in your bed allows them to view themselves as the alpha, making training and enforcing rules much more difficult. As noted in an article from AARP, establishing your role as the leader is critical for setting boundaries and rules.

To avoid these behavioral problems, it’s best to provide your dog with their own designated sleeping area outside of the bedroom. This will reinforce that you are the pack leader and prevent anxiety when separated at bedtime or away from home. Be sure to provide a comfortable dog bed and keep it in a common area so your pup still feels included in the household.

Lack of Personal Space

providing dogs with their own sleeping area outside the bedroom helps avoid separation anxiety and dominance issues.

Allowing a dog to sleep in your bed can infringe on the owner’s personal space and private time. Dogs tend to spread out and take up a lot of room, often pushing humans to the edge of the bed. This can make it difficult to get comfortable and relax (The Importance of Personal Space for Your Dog). Having a dog in the bedroom also means there is less privacy and personal space since the dog is always present. Humans need time to themselves, and having a dog constantly in the bedroom does not allow for that. As pack animals, dogs want to be included in everything. However, owners need breaks from their pets as well (8 Reasons Your Dog May Prefer Their Own Space). Making the bedroom a dog-free zone gives owners a place they can retreat to for alone time.

Cleaning Challenges

Allowing dogs to sleep in the bedroom can lead to significant cleaning challenges. Dog hair and dander can accumulate quickly on sheets, blankets, and bedding. This requires washing them more frequently to remove the hair and eliminate odors. One study from the Sleep Foundation recommends washing sheets at least once a week when dogs sleep in the bedroom.

Dogs also track in dirt and mud from outside into the bedroom. Their paws can spread germs and bacteria onto carpets and bedding. Frequent vacuuming is necessary to keep floors clean. Accidents on the floor or bed are also a concern with pets in the bedroom, requiring thorough cleaning to remove stains and smells.

Dogs emit natural odors that can build up in an enclosed bedroom. Their dander, breath, and waste may create unpleasant smells over time. Air fresheners, open windows, and bathing dogs regularly can help control odors.

Overall, the dirt, hair, and smells from a dog sleeping in the bedroom creates extra housekeeping work. Maintaining cleanliness requires more frequent washing of linens, vacuuming, and use of air fresheners.

Safety Concerns

Allowing your dog to sleep in your bed can pose some safety risks that you should consider. One concern is that your dog could fall off the bed, especially if they tend to move around a lot at night. Small dogs in particular are at risk of injury from falling from a high bed (https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/should-my-dog-sleep-in-my-bed). Another risk is chewing hazards. Some dogs may chew on pillows, blankets, sheets, or even parts of the bed frame while unsupervised at night. Ingesting these items could cause gastrointestinal blockages or other issues for your dog (https://casper.com/blog/dog-sleeping-in-bed/). You may wake up to discover holes chewed in your bedding or frame. Also consider whether your dog’s nails could scratch you or your mattress at night.

To mitigate risks, make sure your bed is low enough to the floor if you have a small dog. Place cushions or pet stairs to give them an easier route up. Remove chewable items from the bed and provide sturdy chew toys instead. Trim nails regularly to avoid scratches. Consider using a crate or pet bed on the floor if your dog is at high risk of falling or chewing at night.

Relationship Impacts

Co-sleeping with dogs can negatively affect relationships and intimacy between partners in several ways. According to The Wildest, if couples disagree on allowing dogs in the bedroom, this conflict can harm the relationship. The tension from differing viewpoints on co-sleeping may also impact intimacy and connection.

Having a dog in the bedroom can literally come between couples and create a physical barrier to intimacy. As noted by Rover, some couples feel they have less personal space and privacy to be romantic when dogs are present in the bed. Dog hair and odors may also make one partner less interested in intimacy. The dog’s presence can be distracting and make couples feel less relaxed as well.

Co-sleeping with dogs can reduce opportunities for intimacy and bonding between partners. It also frequently causes relationship conflicts over differing preferences. Setting boundaries with clear dog sleeping areas outside of the bedroom is optimal for preserving human relationships and intimacy.

Ideal Sleep Spaces

A crate can be a perfect place for a dog to snooze. Crates offer your dog their own private sanctuary or “den” to retreat to, and can be made cozy with blankets, plush dog beds, and toys. They’ll get used to the crate as a place where they feel safe and sheltered. Most crates have a solid plastic or wire frame design with a door that can be closed or locked at night.

crates and enclosed dog beds are ideal sleeping spaces that provide comfort and a sense of security.

An enclosed dog bed is another good option. These beds are like mini private dog houses with high padded sides that give dogs a cozy nook to curl up in. They provide a comfortable dog bed within a little enclosed space to promote security and privacy.

A gated or partitioned area in another room like the kitchen or laundry room can also work well. Make sure the area is comfortable with a dog bed, easily cleanable floors, access to water, and proper ventilation if the room will be closed off overnight.

The key is providing dogs with their own designated sleeping area that fits their needs for comfort, security and privacy at night. And it should be placed in an area removed from the human bedrooms so they have a quiet space to sleep undisturbed.

Training Tips

Crate training is an effective way to teach dogs to sleep outside of your bedroom. According to the ASPCA, crate training utilizes a dog’s natural instincts to seek a safe den space [1]. Follow these tips for successful crate training:

crate training utilizes a dog's natural den instincts and positive reinforcement to teach them to sleep in their own space.

Introduce the crate in a positive way with treats and praise so your dog associates it with something good [2]. Feed your dog meals inside the crate and provide new toys and chews for the crate so they see it as a rewarding space.

Start with short sessions of just 10-30 minutes and gradually build up to sleeping through the night. Be sure to take your dog out to relieve themselves right before crating at night.

Place the crate outside of your bedroom at first. Once your dog is happily sleeping through the night in their crate, you can move it to other areas of your home.

Be patient and consistent during training. If your dog whines, don’t let them out until they settle down. Reward calm behavior in the crate so they learn it’s a positive sleep space.

Conclusion

In summary, the evidence overwhelmingly shows it is better for both dogs and their owners if canines sleep separately, ideally in their own designated spaces. While sleeping together may seem comforting initially, especially for puppies, the cons outweigh the pros when dogs share their owners’ bedrooms long-term. Dogs need adequate rest just like humans, and their sleep is frequently disrupted when in the same room as their owners. This can lead to behavioral issues over time due to sleep deprivation and lack of boundaries. Separate sleeping spaces allow dogs to relax fully, owners to get undisturbed rest, and helps reinforce training. With the right approach, dogs can transition to happily sleeping apart while still getting quality time with their owners during the day.

Scroll to Top