There he is: The big, irresistible eyes, the adorable face and the yelping and whining…oh Lordy, the whining! All. Night. Long. And the puppy was even worse! Despite my best efforts to stay strong, by 2am, I finally broke down and allowed our gorgeous Whippet puppy onto the bed so we could all get some sleep.
Are you co-sleeping with your dog? We get it. No judgment here! In fact, a recent survey of pet owners by the Australian Pet Products Association estimates nearly half of all dog owners in the Aus allow their dog to sleep on the bed.
Successful co-sleeping with your dog can be healthy and even beneficial (as long as you’re not allergic). But there are a few simple rules that you should follow.
1. You’re the Boss. You can share your bed with your best fur friend as long as it’s firmly established that you are the Pack Leader. He has to be invited onto the bed each night and if he growls or starts to show any dominance or marking behavior (like peeing on the bed) he’s immediately bounced!
2. She can’t have your pillow. You can still maintain dominance over your pet, if she sleeps on the bed, but your head must be higher than hers. It’s a hierarchy thing, plain & simple. Her place should really be at the foot of the bed.
3. No treats or chew toys. It’s not her crate or area, it’s yours. See rule no. 1
4. No co-sleeping with babies or toddlers in the bed. Even the most protective and well-trained pets can be clumsy or suffocate a young child accidentally. It’s just not worth the risk.
5. No co-sleeping if you’re allergic or he’s disturbing your sleep. Pet dander will be in the air and also settle on your bedding. Curiously, most pet owners will continue to sleep with their dogs, even if they are allergic. If this is you, you need to be super diligent about washing your pillows and changing your bed linens every week. A morning refresh with a good plant-based fabric cleaner is a great idea. It will dampen down the dander and also keep the Eau de Doggy smell at bay. #wecanhalpwiththat
On the plus side, sleeping with your dog on the bed can have positives. Dogs are warm, cuddly, make us feel secure and tend to raise our oxytocin (the purported “love” hormone) levels just by petting them. Some pet owners even find their rhythmic breathing to be a soothing, natural sleep aid. Bottom line? If you allow your dog onto the bed, enjoy! Just clean your sheets + pillows more often, please. #cleaniseasy