Sleeping together… or each one on their own?

I bet you’ve spent hours and hours watching your dog sleep on its bed – especially if you got it when it was still a cute little puppy.

Paws twitching, chasing who knows what sort of tasty prey, eyelids moving imperceptibly… one of the many joys of life alongside a furry pet.

One of such joys is sleeping with dogs. Whether it’s for the lovely warmth, the super relaxing effect, the mere company or the need for cuddles, there are so many dog-owners that love welcoming their pets under the sheets.

Or maybe they’re the owners, and they’re “just so used to it”.

We’ve all been there: but it’s still one of those things we sometimes question to be right.

More often than not, actually, people sleeping with their dogs raise a few eyebrows, and some (fair) perplexities may arise.

Science can now help us find an answer to this, following the rise in studies regarding the sleep of dogs.

Can we let our dog sleep with us?

They, too, enjoy deserting their beds to join ours: because it’s warmer, sure, but also because we infuse them with a sense of security, which makes our pups less sensitive to sudden noises such as a car passing by or an unexpected storm.

However, when we make our dog used to sleep with us, our household’s harmony can be easily upset.

  1. In a couple, not everybody likes spending the night with a ‘third wheel’, and this can be a source of conflict – even bitter – when there is no perfect agreement.
  2. The dog’s presence can influence your sleep. There is for example a small difference between sleeping with a dog on your bed or in the same room, but on its own bed: in the latter case, the human’s sleeping quality is slightly higher – as many tests have showed.

According to other studies, there’s only a few people whose sleep has been affected negatively by the dog’s presence on the same bed: less than 20%.

Dogs are sleepyheads

Dogs need 12-14 hours of sleep a day. A good amount, which can go up to 15-18 hours if they’re still puppies.

It’s not just about uninterrupted sleep: dogs often swing from outbursts of hyperactivity to sudden naps.

However, they too can often have trouble getting into the world of dreams. In this case, a little ritual can help, such as a short walk outside before bedtime, or a few cuddles when they’re already set for sleep on their bed.

Dogs are emotional – just like us

Another study has showed how an unpleasant experience during the day can affect and trouble the dog’s sleep, too.

Dogs experiencing a negative situation – in the study, being tied to a door or being observed by a silent stranger - fall asleep very quickly, but their sleep quality is low.

One night of bad sleep leads to a day of grumpiness and tiredness.

On our bed or on their own, the important is to choose well

Just like us, dogs also need to feel safe in order to fall into a reinvigorating sleep.

Generally, they prefer a soft and cosy surface. If it’s not your bed, the ideal is a soft dog bed or cushion.

Lots of dogs prefer sleeping in their owner’s bedroom – and many dog trainers recommend that, too.

It doesn’t matter if it’s on your bed, the floor, or their own bed: the important is that their choice is appreciated also by the other users of the room.

Sleeping with your dogs strengthens the connection you have with them, and allows to understand more easily if they’re scared, sick or simply in need of an extra stroll in the garden.

In any case, their life’s quality cannot but improve, because sleep is a fundamental part of everyone’s routine – even for our furry friends.

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