Allowing Rover to sleep in bed has always been a controversial subject. On one hand, you don't want to ignore some health concerns and also some sanitary issues; on the other hand, you may worry about your friendly pooch developing a bit of an attitude from being allowed such a luxury. Not to mention the fact that some dogs snore quite heavily and can easily take over the whole mattress, leaving you in a vulnerable curled-up position at the edge of the bed.
Whether you like it or not, sharing the bed with your dog comes with some risks. For starters, if you suffer from allergies or asthma you should obviously not sleep with your furry friendly. Instead, you should install a HEPA filter and keep your pet outside the bedroom, recommends Derek Damin, a doctor specializing in allergy and immunology. Other health concerns include conditions that are transmissible from dogs to humans, such as ringworm and other sanitary issues derived from the presence of feces stuck to the fur, dirt on the paws and the presence of pesky parasites.
You may have heard about dogs trying to take over the world once they are in possession of the bed. Luckily, gaining superpowers to take charge of your home is not on every dog's agenda. Most likely, dogs enjoy staying in bed simply because they want to stay close to you and it's a comfy place to be. Yet, there are cases where your dog's rights to sleep in bed should be immediately revoked. Guarding the bed and preventing your poor husband from lying down next to you is one of those cases, according to Pat Miller, dog trainer and owner of Peaceable Paws.
If you have a light sleep or if you are predisposed to insomnia, sleeping with your dog may not be your cup of tea. You may rather want to brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea instead, since Rover may prevent you from catching some Zzzs. Some dogs tend to turn around several times before laying down, others move throughout the night and some other can snore pretty loudly. If you need to wake up early in the morning and want to feel fresh like a rose, you may want to skip sleeping with your pooch.
Sleeping in bed with a young puppy still in the process of learning the ropes of potty training may lead to unpleasant "surprises" in the last place you want to find them. Expect as well waking up to chewed up pillows and sheets. Not to mention the fact that jumping on and off beds may also put too much strain on a puppy's developing joints. With adult dogs, consider that some may get startled when awakened suddenly. This may at times also lead to a defensive bite. Also, if you own a dog predisposed to separation anxiety, allowing him in the bed may increase clingy behaviors -- potentially making the condition worse.
In some cases, sleeping in bed with you can have some advantages. For instance, if your dog is in bed with you at night, it means he cannot be counter surfing or chewing on your furniture at the same time. Also, some elderly dogs may find it soothing to be with their human parents when they are starting to feel vulnerable or frail. If you and your dog are healthy and your dog does not develop any particular behavioral problems, there is little harm in letting him sleep with you in bed. If instead you have some concerns, you can easily find a compromise and let your pampered pooch sleep in his own bed right next to yours.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.