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Should You Let Your Shih Tzu Sleep With You? (What Owners Say)

Shih Tzus are one of the cutest dog breeds out there. With their flat little faces and their soft fluffy hair they are impossible not to love and snuggle. If fact they are so cute that we often want to get in every opportunity to snuggle with them that we can.

If you have recently brought home a Shih Tzu and want extra snuggles, or your Shih Tzu is having a hard time sleeping at night you may wonder if it is safe or ok for your little dog to sleep in your bed with you.

There are many benefits to your Shih Tzu sleeping with you like, cuddles, security, and greater release of oxytocin. The risks are them falling out of the bed and getting hurt, interrupted sleep, or exchanging sickness. If you do let your Shih Tzu sleep with you, you should take steps to do it safely.

Even though everyone has their own opinion about why or why not their Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu’s 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 Shih Tzu 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 that 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.

If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression you know how hard and lonely the battle can sometimes feel. A dog can’t cure it all on its own, but they can help to bring your more love and comfort than you can imagine. Having that extra time at night and in the morning to cuddle and be near your Shih Tzu can bring help you feel more peaceful and relaxed which may even help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

If you live alone or tend to feel anxious about security at night having your dog close by while you sleep can help you feel more secure. Your Shih Tzu will often be able to sense if there is danger or something that is not right much sooner than you can. Your dog will then alert you by barking or growling.

Shih Tzu’s don’t usually make very good guard dogs since they are so small and friendly, but having that extra time to be altered of something potentially wrong can still help you feel at ease.

Extra warmth and morning cuddles is another huge bonus for sharing your bed with a fluff ball! 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 Shih Tzu can be a great little heater crawled up next to you under the covers.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu 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.

I found it interesting that research shows smaller dogs actually have more frequent but smaller dreams than larger dogs. Sometimes I can tell when Bear is dreaming because he makes these cute little whining and squeaking noises. I like that I can be there for him when he’s having a bad dream so I can comfort him, but that could be a drawback for some.

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. Shih Tzus 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 Shih Tzu to sleep with you.

One risk of letting your Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu well trained or not. Making sure your Shih Tzu 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.

2 women holding their shih tzus cuddling with them
Thank you Patti L. and Kristen G. for use of these photos!

Does your Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu Sleep With You

There are few things to consider when keeping your Shih Tzu safe with you in your bed. Since Shih Tzu’s are so small (usually 3-7lbs) you’ll want to be sure that you have a good idea where your Shih Tzu 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 of your Shih Tzu. 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 say they let their Shih Tzu 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.

Another thing to consider in safety: how high up off the floor is your bed? If your Shih Tzu 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 My Shih Tzu to Sleep in His/Her Own Bed

If you decide to have your Shih Tzu 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 Shih Tzu. 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 Shih Tzu feel calmer as well as more connected with you.

2. Make sure they are tired. Give them plenty of exercise throughout the day. Shih Tzus do best with at least an hours worth of exercise during the day broken up into 2 or 3 different sessions. A good play session a couple of hours before bedtime can help them sleep better as well as a quick walk to help them poop and potty just before bedtime.

3. Be consistent. If you let your Shih Tzu 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. Your smell will also help them feel more calm and comfortable.

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. It’s important for everyone to know the rules and help follow through if you want your pup to be successful.

What Do Owners Say

One Shih Tzu owner said that their dog starts in bed with them for cuddles then gets off to sleep in his own bed and in the morning when the alarm goes off comes back up to bed to sleep!

I don’t know about you, but that seems like the perfect situation to me.

I asked a group of Shih Tzu owners if they let their dogs sleep with them and here are the results.

If you want to know how much sleep your Shih Tzu needs then read this article next.

How Much Do Shih Tzu’s Sleep? (Inside Info From Owners) | Paws and Learn

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