Skip to content

Do Dogs Prefer To Sleep With Their Owners

A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Friday 13 January 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Do Dogs Prefer To Sleep With Their Owners
This page may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

You are trying to get comfortable under your blanket after a long day, and pow! Your fluffy friend just climbs into bed with you, claiming the space as theirs. Sounds familiar? Most pet parents are all too familiar with dogs snuggling into their beds. Veterinary scientists worldwide have studied the psychology of dogs to understand this behavior. 

But do dogs like sleeping with their owners, or is it just the comfortable, warm bed that’s attractive to them?

Do Dogs Like Sleeping With Their Owners?

So why do dogs want to sleep with you, and should you allow your dog to sleep with you? The Centre for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic studied 40 dogs and their owners to understand dog and human behavior when sleeping. In this study, the scientists examined humans who slept with their dogs in bed. They compared them to those who slept with their dogs in the same room but not in the bed. 

The study showed that most dogs sleeping with owners slept comfortably, be in on the same bed or in the same room. Humans also slept comfortably when their dogs were with them. 

However, the study also showed that humans slept slightly better when the dog did not sleep in the bed than when it did. Part of the reason is that dogs are polyphasic sleepers, meaning their sleep and wake cycles differ from humans.

Veterinarians also believe that not all dogs react similarly to the company during sleep. For example, Jessa Paschke from Mars Petcare asserts that what dogs need is a safe place of their own, such as a crate or their own bed. Curling up with you might just be a sign of anxiety instead of affection.

One result that came out of various research results was the fact that dogs love companionship. They are among the most social animals and crave interaction with others, especially humans. Sleeping next to their owner gives them a sense of security and belonging. Lack of interaction can lead to anxiety in dogs

Additionally, dogs may enjoy the warmth and comfort of their owner’s body. So if you wonder why dogs sleep next to you, they want to show affection and trust towards you.  

Should You Allow Your Dog to Sleep With You?

A study conducted with 1,000 dog owners in Australia showed that 49% of the participants (aged 18 to 78) sleep with their dogs in their beds. 31% preferred not to sleep with their dogs in the same room. The remaining shared the room with their pets, but not their beds. 

Another survey on adult women who live with pets by Christy Hoffman at Canisius College, USA, showed that 55% of participants slept with their dogs in their beds. When asked why do dogs sleep next to you? The women said they felt more comfortable and secure sleeping with their dogs than with a partner. 

A very high number of people sleep with dogs, and there are no major health concerns. On the other hand, research has pointed out that physical interaction with a dog can have several health benefits for humans, such as:

Many myths have created a perception that sleeping with your dog is negative or shameful for the pet parent. For example, the idea that the dog is trying to dominate you by sleeping in your bed is antiquated, and scientists have debunked it.

Sleeping with a dog in bed is a very personal choice and does not make you any less loving to your dog. It is just a way of establishing boundaries with them, just like you would do with another person.

How to Sleep Safe and Sound With Your Dog

To sleep safely, it is important to ensure your dog is clean, does not have problems like urinary incontinence, and understands its boundaries. While we highlighted many benefits, some genuine reasons for sleeping with your dog might be a problem. Let’s explore some of these ideas.

Set Boundaries

Establishing boundaries with your dog is the first step in training them. You have to be consistent with them and tell them what you expect from them. If they try to get into bed with you, teach them that it is not right – more than once if required. This will help them learn what you are comfortable with. Obedience training at an early age will help your dog understand such commands.

Keep Dogs Above the Cover

It can be inconvenient if your dog gets under the covers after making the bed. If they are young or restless, make sure that you keep them above the covers. If they are trying to scratch their way in, clearly indicate that you do not like it and get them to stop. 

Keep Your Dog Clean 

If you prefer your dog to sleep in the same bed as you, their hygiene is the first thing you must take care of. Regular baths, grooming, and cleaning are what they need to keep you comfortable when they climb into your bed. Give them a good comb before bed so that there is less shedding during the night. 

Use Mattress Protector

Some dogs have the habit of moving their limbs or scratching the bed they are sleeping on. Try to calm them by petting them when they are restless in their sleep. To avoid damage, use a mattress protector. 

Take Them Out Before Bedtime

Dogs are creatures of habit. Whether they sleep in the same bed or around you, they can get nature’s call just like humans. Some dogs may have infections or urinary incontinence and might wet your bed.

Create a habit of taking them out for a short walk and letting them do their business before they go to sleep. This will help you and your dog sleep well during the night without interfering with each other’s rest time.  

When Should You Not Allow Dogs to Sleep With You?

We have discussed why dogs want to sleep with you in the same bed. But there may be times when you have to keep your dogs away when you are sleeping. This is for your safety and convenience.

You should be the one to train your dogs regarding their space and comfort. As a responsible pet parent, teaching your dogs about personal space can help your relationship in the long run. Here are some of the considerations you need to have.   

If You Have Allergies

Dog allergies occur from their fur and can cause a lot of trouble for allergic people. If you are allergic to dogs and there is one in your house, make sure they do not climb into your bed. Also, if you cannot clean the bed properly, it can seriously threaten your health. 

If They Are Not House-Trained

When dogs are house trained in aspects like eating and bathroom behaviors, they are safe in any home. However, a puppy or dog who is not house-trained might be difficult to control. In these cases, you should not allow a dog to climb into bed or sleep alongside other people. 

If You Have a New Dog

Bringing in a new dog to your home comes with its own set of responsibilities. Say you are bringing a rescue dog unaccustomed to staying indoors. They may even feel threatened when they see a bed or couch. It is better to slowly let them get comfortable before you allow them to climb up on a bed. You can let them sleep with dog pillows or cushions.

If You or Your Dog Have Health Issues

Health concerns for dogs and humans are one of the primary reasons for keeping your dog away from your bed. If your dog is sick, they will be more comfortable sleeping on their bed where you can take care of them. 

Similarly, keeping your dog at a distance can help them be alert about your condition if you have a health problem. 

If You Are a Light Sleeper

For light sleepers, sleeping with dogs can be real trouble. Your dog may be moving around, scratching the bed, or snoring next to you in their sleep, while you are wide awake. Keeping them on their bed or not allowing them to sleep with you is better for both sides. 

In conclusion, the simple answer to why dogs sleep with you is because they are comfortable sleeping that way. Sleeping with your dog is a personal preference, and as long as you establish some ground rules, it is a wonderful way of strengthening your relationship with it. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *