A question that I hear around the dog park from time to time is the ‘should I let my dog sleep in bed with me?’ one. This is an odd question to me. My pups sleep in my bed every single night. In fact, I would most likely be offended if they chose to sleep anywhere else. This made me wonder what other people think about letting their pups sleep in bed with them. Figuring this was just the norm has made me wonder what a special breed being a dog mom is. I am finding out if having the dog mom role has created differences between others’ reality and my normal dog mom reality. I set out to find what nuggets I could find about what other pup parents think.
My dogs will always have their own beds, even if they don’t sleep in them
Phys.org conducted a study to see what type of information they could find with dog mom and dog dads letting their furbabies sleep in bed with them. First off, it says to maybe forget buying a dog bed. This is given the increasing number of pup parents letting their pups sleep in the bed with them. No way, Jose! My pups are currently saving their bones for bunk beds that they will not sleep in at night. But where else will they have more room for activities?! Additionally, they prefer to lounge around during the day in areas that are not the bed. I probably have around 6-7 dog beds for them and this does not mean it’s where I expect them to sleep.
They need special dog beds for outside, lounging (yes, my dog has a chaise bed), the ‘under the desk when mom is working’ bed, the ‘playing with their toys bed’, etc. And what if they are going on a camping trip?! Or doggy daycare? To this, I say there are never enough dog beds. And a future post I will elaborate my sentiment on this dog mom lifestyle choice.
Amount of dogs who sleep in their human’s bed
Moving on, this particular study had more than 1000 Australian dog owners participate. I have an Australian Cattle Dog/ Blue Heeler mix, so this was the perfect selection for this study in my own dog mom eyes. They measured about 49% of these pet parents let their dog sleep in the bed with them. So this means about 490 of the dogs regularly sleep in bed with their owners. I don’t have previous statistics handy, but I bet this is a number that has been increasing year after year and isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
And then 20% of respondents (so about 200 dogs) to this study note that their pup sleep in the bedroom, just not necessarily the bed. To me, this is saying 20% of dogs are getting closer in the human-bed game and to just give it time. The remaining 31% of dogs sleep in areas outside the bedroom. This study supports numerous dog mom claims and studies that dog owners commonly choose to sleep with their dogs in the bed or bedroom.
A few interesting factors on what increases the likelihood of dogs sleeping with their owners via heat maps
- When two people were in a double queen or king-size bed the dog typically slept at their feet or in the middle of the bed.
- They noted that for individuals that had a single bed the dogs most often slept on the floor beside the bed even though some slept on the bed and human chest level.
- The older participants or dog parents were more likely to cohabitate with their dogs.
- Singles and people Who had small dogs rather than larger ones were more apt to sleep in the bed with their human parent.
- The bed size also impacts the likelihood of bed-sharing.
Why I let my dog’s sleep in the bed with me
I can definitely attest to dog sleeping in the middle of the bed and my Chiweenie who is 18 pounds can take over the entire bed by just plopping in the middle of it. The study found that nearly 1/3 of the dogs slept under the covers. I have covered dogs burrowing tendencies prior in this post ‘Why Does My Dog Burrow?’. Nearly 2/3 of the study participants said their dogs rarely disturbed their own personal sleep.
I think this statistic is amusing because I know I disrupt my dog’s sleep more than they disrupt mine. I like waking them up sometimes in the middle of the night when I am unable to sleep. My dogs use Fitbark to monitor their sleeping habits and their sleep scores are always high (in the 90 percentiles) so I know they are snoozing away at night. Despite any disturbances, canine bed partners could also be fulfilling a psychological need for feeling safe and secure while they snooze.
Are my dreams affected by my dogs sleeping in the bed?
Pups are so close to us that it makes sense their presence affects our dreams. I also found a study that shows the differences in dream patterns based on the experience the human has had with dogs. Dog parents do dream about their pups more often and have positive dreams. The findings showed on average people dream about dogs in their life around 5% of the time – however, if they are a pup parent, this percentage significantly increases. Additionally, the more active time spent with the pup and the closer the proximity in sleep caused even higher percentages.
So basically, the closer the dog is to us, the more likely we are to dream about them? Um, count me in!