When we first got our little puppy Bear my husband was adamant that he would not be sleeping in bed with us. It didn’t take long for our cuddly little guy to change his mind.
But we wondered should we really let our small puppy sleep in bed with us? He’s so little I wanted to make sure it was safe, and I was also curious how many other people have their little puppies sleep with them, I asked other puppy owners what they thought, and here’s what I found out.
The benefits of your puppy sleeping with you are extra cuddles, greater security, and happy hormones for you both. The risks are them falling out of the bed and getting hurt, interrupted sleep, or exchanging sickness. If you do let your puppy sleep with you, you should take steps to do it safely.
Even though everyone has their own opinion about why or why not their puppy should sleep in bed with them ultimately you get to decide what’s best for you and your furry friend, so let’s explore all the different reasons that other owners have shared with me about the pros and cons of having their dogs sleep in their beds, that way you will have all the information you need to make the decision that’s best for you.
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Reasons Why you Should Let Your puppy Sleep With You
- Eases stress and anxiety
- Extra warmth
- Greater security
- Morning cuddles and love
- Decreases loneliness
- Releases Oxytocin
- Helps you bond with your dog
- Makes your dog feel more secure
Dogs and humans have been sleeping together in some cultures for thousands of years, and for good reasons, just being close to your puppy helps to increase your levels of Oxytocin (link to PubMed article) a powerful hormone that will help you unwind, destress, lower your heart rate and feel more relaxed. This is a perfect recipe for a great night’s sleep.
Research shows tthat dog owners who share special bonds with their dogs benefit greatly from mental health benefits such as lower blood pressure, decreased stress, less anxiety and depression, and overall better health.
Personally speaking, I have experienced the effects of anxiety and depression in my life, and having my little guy always near has helped me feel more calm and collected. If having him sleep next to me can help both him and I feel more peaceful, connected, and relaxed, then I say, yes, please!
Extra warmth and morning cuddles is another huge bonus for sharing your bed with a fluff ball! (If you want more information on how to encourage your dog to cuddle click here.) For some reason, I’m always feeling so cold-blooded. In the wintertime, I have my heating pad, a heated rice bag, and my puppy Bear snuggled up to me for extra heat. If you live in a colder climate your puppy can be a great little heater crawled up next to you under the covers.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Let Your puppy Sleep With You
- Sleep quality could be affected
- Could make allergies worse
- Possible transmission of disease
- Possibility of more separation anxiety
- Could make resource guarding worse
- Could make intimacy with your partner more challenging
There are some reasons that could lead us to hesitate or rethink the decision of letting our puppy sleep with us. Dog and Human sleep cycles can actually differ quite a bit. If you or your dog is a fitful light sleeper it could be difficult to get enough deep sleep if your dog is waking you up constantly. If you and your pooch are constantly battling it out then you will probably be better off with them in their own bed.
Fun Fact: Research shows smaller dogs actually have more frequent but shorter dreams than large breed dogs. Smaller dogs have new dreams about every 10 minutes that only last a few minutes long as opposed to large dogs that have a new dream every 60-90 minutes that last around 10 minutes long.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies in general it could be a bad idea to let your little pooch snuggle on your pillow or in the covers after they have spent time going outside to use the bathroom. Pet dander can also be a big problem for allergy sufferers. puppy are not known to be heavy shedders, but their dander can still cause problems for people who are allergic to it.
It’s important to note that it’s dander not the hair that you may be allergic to. If you have mild allergies then you could take some preventative steps to control it if you still desire your puppy to sleep with you.
Grooming them well before hand can be an important step. Check out these grooming tools that I recommend for your furry pup.
One risk of letting your puppy sleep with you could be the transmission of disease from your dog to you or you to your dog. According to the AKC, however, this is rare and can be mostly avoided if you take precautions to maintain your dog’s health as well as yours.
If you or your dog is sick it’s a good idea to have them sleep in a different area until they are better, but if you are used to sleeping with your pup beside you, that can be challenging for both of you!
Something else to consider is your puppy well trained or not. Making sure your puppy is housetrained before you let them sleep with you can be a good idea. You don’t want to wake up to a little puddle of potty next to your face.
Does your puppy follow you around everywhere? My little Bear does, and to tell you the truth, I kinda love it. If you are worried about your little guy having separation anxiety teaching him to sleep in his own bed could be a helpful step towards more independence.
Does your puppy resource guard, if he growls at your or others when you get close to his food, his bed or other items he deems are his it’s important that you train him not to do this BEFORE you allow him to sleep in your bed. If this is your pooches attitude sleeping in bed with you could make him feel more dominant over you and less like you are in charge.
Another drawback could come when you and your partner desire some alone time to be intimate (if you catch my drift). It can be a somewhat awkward when your little furry friend wants to get in on the action, or maybe worse stares you down wondering what the heck you are doing!? It may take a little more forethought in setting your pooch up with plans in another room if you want to be truly alone with your partner.
How to Safely Have Your puppy Sleep With You
There are few things to consider when keeping your puppy safe with you in your bed. Since puppies are so small (usually 3-7lbs) you’ll want to be sure that you have a good idea where your puppy is in your bed especially the first few nights as you are getting used to him being there. Make sure your little guy has enough space and that they can easily move if needed.
Consider the age and size of your puppy. The younger and smaller your puppy the more risk there is of them being harmed while sleeping with you in your bed. They are very little compared to us big humans and there needs to be some consideration of that.
Fun Fact: Senior dogs as well a puppies tend to twitch more in their sleep! This is due to a part of their brain called the Pons which regulates muscles and keeps them still while they sleep. This part of a puppies brain is underdeveloped and for older dogs it works less efficiently.
When I asked other owners what age they let their puppies start sleeping in their beds I got a variety of answers. They said anywhere from age 8 weeks all the way to 1 year old.
Although the surprising majority of owners I talked to say they let their puppies sleep with them from the first day they bring them home. Their advice is to make sure your puppy won’t fall off the bed and make sure they have a secure spot where you won’t roll over on top of them.
I think that crate training your puppy and teaching them to sleep independently when you first bring them home is the best idea, but I know how hard it is to resist when your sweet little fluff ball is crying to be near you.
If you do let them sleep in your bed, another thing to consider in safety: how high up off the floor is your bed? If your puppy jumps off your bed they could easily injure themselves. To solve this you could move your box Springs and mattress to the floor or what we did for our little dog Bear was get these fabric stairs from Amazon I use these for our 6lb Chi Mix, and they fit perfectly at the end of our bed. We easily trained him to go up and down. Problem solved!
How to Get Your Puppy to Sleep in His/Her Own Bed
If you decide to have your puppy sleep in their own bed you will need to train them to do so. It’s best to decide from the beginning that this is how you want to proceed. If you start with them in your bed it will be harder to transition. Crate training is a good place to start.
1. Give them a comfortable bed of their own, This dog bed from amazon is a great option for small dogs like puppy. Depending upon their attachment to you, you may want to keep their bed in close proximity to where you sleep. Keeping it close to your bed will help your puppy feel calmer as well as more connected with you.
2. Make sure they are tired. Give them plenty of exercise throughout the day and just before bedtime so they are good a tired.
3. Be consistent. If you let your puppy sleep in your bed with you sometimes it will be confusing for them and they are going to want to sleep with you all the time.
4. Put something in their bed that smells like you. Make their bed an enticing place to be.
5. Make sure everyone in the house is on the same page. If he can go find another bed to sleep in he won’t be sleeping in his own.
Teaching your puppy to settle is the first step to teaching them to lay in their own bed. Start with a high value treat (my puppy loves boiled chicken), and get your puppy to walk to it’s bed. You can do this by luring them with the treat. Reward, and repeat, next get them to sit in their bed, reward ward again. After they are good at the sit command in their bed you can teach them to lie down in their bed. When it’s nap time or bed time, keep the treats close by so that you can redirect your puppy to their bed if they try and get out. Keeping them in a crate or play pen at first can help with this.