Did you know that around 55% of dog owners share their beds with at least one dog?
In some areas, this practice is so common, that it has become unacceptable for fur canines to spend the night inside the doghouse and outside.
Sure, having a dog inside your home helps you feel safer, can bond family members more, and make lonely hours pass much faster.
In fact, it’s more and more common to let children and even babies share their pillows with furry friends…
Is it safe? Should you allow it? What are things that you should consider if this is an OK option for you?
Read on to learn if your child and dogs can share beds, how pets sharing can affect a child’s sleep, and get familiar with both the down and beneficial sides of letting children share the bed with pets.
Should You Let Pets Sleep On Your Child’s Bed?
This is one of those questions that people tend to discuss for centuries. In fact, it’s quite similar to – the chicken or the egg?
Luckily, with this case, science can help a lot and help parents make a decision based on facts and practice.
When it comes to the best answer possible, you need to know that the answer will vary a lot and ultimately depend on your personal preference and decision.
No matter what experts may recommend or not, it’s up to you to do your research, consider all the factors surrounding your children and pets, and ultimately bring the final decision – at the end of the day, the decision is yours to make.
Here are some main things that you should consider when it comes to letting dogs sleep on your little one’s bed.
If your child has any type of pet allergies or battles with asthma, the answer should be no.
No matter how much your love your pet or how much your child loves cuddling with your best furry friends, having pets around at night can make reactions worse.
In fact, many reports that asthma-related and allergy-related issues are always worse at night.
Sleeping hours should be time to let the body rest and avoid any allergy triggers, especially in those who deal with breathing difficulties.
Dogs are perfect companions. In fact, being a great companion is their thing – for centuries dogs have been next to men to help them survive the harsh time, both with hunting and keeping them warm.
Dogs’ brains evolved so much because men continually worked with them to make them useful.
That’s why dogs love being around people so much, especially their little humans.
When trained well, dogs can be great companions for children, especially if they have issues sleeping.
Various research has shown that children do feel much safer when there is a dog around them.
In younger children, nightmares are often, and having a fluffy animal nearby helps them feel much safer – dogs help children and adults deal with various conditions, from depression to lowering blood pressure, to help children with ADHD and adults with PTSD.
The downside here is that children can create a specific sleeping pattern when the animal is around.
This way a child can learn that an animal must be nearby when sleeping, which can make solo sleeping more challenging.
Can you imagine having a family vacation and your child having to sleep without a furry buddy? This can be difficult for everyone, you, your child, and even your dog.
Pets are creatures of their own, and they all have individual traits that make them unique and individual.
That being said, some dogs are quite sleepers, while others know only how it feels to sleep loudly and be restful all night long.
If your dog has a very light sleep and prefers to stay awake all night long, that you should know that your child’s sleep might be disturbed.
Also, if your dog snores, scratches, or even wriggle about during sleep, it will disturb your child.
Just like in adults, children who sleep poorly can be moody, lethargic, and extremely upset on even the smallest act – not a good thing for a parent to have to deal with.
No matter how much you may love your dog and enjoy the canine companionship some things should be left untold – like germs.
You may provide all vaccines, keep regular parasite control and prevention, but germs can still end up on your canine – this is usually the main reason why professionals are against co-sleeping with pets.
If you still want them in your bed, make sure that they aren’t allowed under the sheets. This way you can easily change the sheets, without extra worries of germs, and so on.
This is usually one of the biggest concerns among those who already share beds with their pets, and parents whose children love being 24/7 with their furry buddies.
Pets do carry their own share of germs and diseases, just like some humans do, but as long as they are vaccinated, clean, and maintained well, their shouldn’t be any massive concerns when it comes to negatively affecting human health.
Interestingly, one study found that infants who share their bed with pets are less likely to develop allergies later on in life.
Moreover, many claim that early exposure to allergens carried by dogs has a positive impact!
As expected, this may not be the case for everyone, but it’s definitely something worth considering.
To many, the best solution is to have a separate bed for pets. Dogs tend to snuggle in while people sleep and rest peacefully at the edge of the bed.
They are adorable, but they are sneaky.
If you have a cat you know how gentle they can lay their paws on your pillow without you realizing that they have spent the night next to you.
Plus, if your dog is attached to your child, there is no force alive that could stop him from snuggling in the bed.
Again: they can end up sneaking upstairs to get onto the bed in million different ways – they can be both stubborn and determined to do their best to get it their way.
A very effective way to ensure that your dog and chill spend the night together, but in separate beds is to provide a cabin bed.
If your dog is well-trained, he should be able to follow house rules and sleep where his place is.
The best way to have a well-behaved dog is to start early training and socialization as soon as you bring your new puppy home.
Even if you are adopting, getting a dog, or getting a senior dog, do not despair, it’s still possible to train them – you just might need more time to train them, so arm yourself with patience and energy, because you will need it.
The Bottom Line
So, should you let your child share a bed with a family dog? When it comes down to it, the decision is highly personal.
It may depend on the situation, the pet, and the child. There are a few things you can do to optimize the environment for you, your child, and your pet.
There are cabin beds and high sleeper beds are a great solution if your child wants to sleep with their pets in the room, but you don’t want them to share the same bed. This will work only if your dog is well-trained and will respect the boundaries.
Tips for Safely Sleeping with Your Dog
Sleeping near dogs can be beneficial for so many reasons.
We may forget it but while we were mostly nomads and living out in the wild, dogs were the number one buddies, to help people carry food, and keep everyone inside the tent warm.
So, what are the main benefits of sleeping near your dog? Here are the most effective ones:
- Reduces depression
- Promotes theta brainwaves, which occur during the REM stage of sleep, making the sleep more enjoyable
- Strongly increases sense of security
- Eases insomnia
- Provides more comfort
- Minimizes loneliness
- Provides stronger sleep quality
- Reduces stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Makes bond with dog stronger
- Promotes a healthy heart
- Keeps allergies later in life away
- Provides better overall health
Sure, sharing a bed with a dog can be beneficial for so many reasons, but there are certain things that you should know before you start practicing co-pet sleeping.
Try implementing these tips if you want to keep your dog near your child’s bed:
- Have boundaries. Be certain about where your dog can sleep. If the bed is out of option, let your canine have a corner of his own. Make sure it’s clear to them where they are allowed to be and where they are not.
- Do not let aggression become a normal occurrence. If your dog, or any pet shows any aggression toward you or someone you shared a bed with, sleeping with them will be difficult. This behavior should be treated and handled outside the bedroom area.
- Keep pets on the covers. This way you will minimize any germs contact and keep sheets cleaner for a longer time. Teach your dog to sleep above the covers at your feet, and reward him when he does that.
- Take them out before bedtime. If this is an option you can always take the dog outside the bedroom before you hit the lights off. If your dog starts crying when you close the door, you should invest more time in training.
- Keep your pet clean. When having pets, especially dogs, you need to clean more than usual. By keeping your dog clean you are keeping your bed cleaner in the long run. Don’t overdue with bathing your dog, because dogs have different pH value opposite to humans, and too much bathing can harm them – this is why sleeping on the covers is a great solution.
- You can always use a mattress protector. This is a great way to keep the dirt and allergies away. Make sure that you purchase the one that is waterproof, dirt, and allergy-resistant if you want to get the most of your mattress.