Your dog should sleep wherever you—and your furry best friend—are ensured a good night’s rest. Whether your dog sleeps in your bed, his own dog bed, on the couch, or in his dog crate will vary depending on what works best for you both. Read on to learn the pros and cons of various sleeping arrangements with your dog.
Should Your Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom?
Your dog should sleep in your room if having him close improves your sleep, or at least doesn’t hamper your solid eight hours. According to 2017 research by the Mayo Clinic, sleeping with a dog in bed didn’t worsen sleep efficiency—the amount of time actually sleeping while in bed. Sleep efficiency was slightly better for study subjects whose dogs slept on the bedroom floor compared with those participants whose dogs slept in their beds, but the participants’ sleep efficiency was considered adequate either way.
A brand new study out of Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, suggests that dogs are a woman’s best friend when it comes to sleeping. Based on a survey of 962 women, study participants who slept with a dog in bed reported sleeping more soundly and feeling more secure than those who slept with a human partner or a cat.
Ultimately, whether your dog should sleep in your room or up on the bed rests on how deeply you sleep, and how much you and your dog shift and squirm at night. Very light sleepers may struggle to sleep when their dogs move a lot while snoozing—even when on the floor. Deep sleepers, however, may find their sleep improves when their dog is nearby in the room or on the bed.
Those allergic to dogs should definitely forego having their dog sleep in the same room. Pet dander—the cause of most pet allergies—builds up over time and worsens allergy symptoms, which, in turn, impedes sleep.
Should Your Dog Sleep in a Crate?
Most canines consider their dog crates safe havens for sleep, especially when the crate training process was thorough, patient, and positive. If you have a dog who happily enters his crate for daytime naps or to chew on his favorite dog toy, this is probably where he’ll settle down for ‘lights out.’
If you’re a light sleeper, you may benefit from having him sleep crated in another room so his nocturnal tossing and turning won’t disturb you. This sleep arrangement is also beneficial as your dog ages—the sleep habits of older dogs change and thus are easier to manage when your senior dog is already accustomed to sleeping in a crate.
Where Should Puppies Sleep?
Sleeping in a crate near your bed is commonly recommended for puppies. Similar to human babies, puppies are comforted by close proximity to their people. Young dogs are best left off the bed because they aren’t housetrained and don’t yet have full bladder control.
Crate training is a powerful housetraining tool because dogs resist relieving themselves where they sleep. Place a mat and an article of clothing that smells like you in the crate for extra comfort, as well as a ‘pee pad’ in case of an accident. Once your puppy is grown and housetrained, you can settle on your long-term sleep arrangement.
Should Dogs Sleep Outside?
Dogs should always sleep indoors with their people. Though some dog breeds manage the heat well, and others are well adapted to the cold—no dog breed is built to withstand extreme heat or cold for hours on end. Older dogs, sick dogs, and dogs with flat muzzles (brachycephalic) are particularly vulnerable when exposed to the elements and extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time. In addition to weather-related risks, other hazards threaten dogs left on their own outdoors overnight, including dangerous plants or yard maintenance chemicals a dog might consume, or getting into scuffles with nocturnal wildlife.
Should Your Dog Sleep in a Dog Bed?
A dog bed is the best option if your furry pal moves around a lot at night—and he won’t disturb your sleep. He can stretch his legs and shift positions easily when he sleeps on a dog bed. If he’s got more than one dog bed, he can even switch rooms.
Even if your dog sleeps in a crate or in your bed, he’ll still need a dog bed. Dogs sleep between 12 and 14 hours every day, and require a soft place to nap while you catch up on your favorite shows or cook dinner. A bed protects your dog from the cold, hard floor, which is important for the bones and joints of dogs at every age. And for older dogs, the extra support of an orthopedic dog bed becomes crucial.
Why Does Your Dog Sleep at Your Feet?
Understanding why your dog sleeps at your feet is the key to deciding where he should sleep. When you’re watching a movie or reading a good book, your dog sleeps at your feet because his preferred spot is near to you. If he has furniture privileges, he’ll hop up on the couch to get even closer. If he’s allowed on the bed, odds are that’ll be his first choice. That’s why, at the end of the day, your needs should outweigh your dog’s when deciding where he should sleep, and you should make the call without guilt. Rest easy that a good night’s sleep makes you a more patient pet parent and boosts your energy for exuberant play sessions during waking hours.