Your dog should sleep wherever you—and your furry best friend—are ensured a good night’s rest. Whether he sleeps in your bed, his own dog bed in one of his many strange sleeping positions, on the couch, or in his dog crate will vary depending on what works best for you both.
Should Your Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom?
It’s perfectly acceptable for most dogs to sleep in their owner’s bedroom. Whether they do or not comes down to personal preference. Your dog can sleep in your bedroom if…
- You’d like him to.
- Having him there improves your sleep, or at least doesn’t impede your ZZZs.
- You are not allergic to dogs. Pet dander—the cause of most pet allergies—builds up over time and worsens allergy symptoms, which, in turn, hinders sleep.
Is It Better for Your Dog to Sleep on the Floor or in the Bed?
If your dog makes it hard to get comfortable or shifts a lot in the night, it would be better for him to sleep on the floor, rather than the bed. But a cozy, deep-sleeping dog in the bed could potentially help you sleep better.
2017 research by the Mayo Clinic examined how sleeping with a dog affected sleep efficiency—the amount of time spent actually sleeping while in bed. The study found that participants’ sleep efficiency was adequate whether their dogs were on the bedroom floor or in the bed. On average, sleep efficiency was slightly better for study subjects whose dogs slept on the bedroom floor.
But a study out of Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, suggests that dogs are a woman’s best friend when it comes to sleep. In 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.
When Can a Dog Sleep in the Bed?
Many people find snoozing alongside their dog to be cozy and rewarding, but it isn’t the right choice in every case.
Your dog should be able to sleep in your bed when they are:
- A housebroken adult
- Easy to move from coveted sleeping spots
- Calm when separated from you
There are good reasons to follow these guidelines.
For example, status-seeking or “dominant” dogs should definitely not sleep in the bed. Allowing them this privilege sends them a confusing message: They understand innately that the top dog gets the top sleeping spot. If they’re in the top spot, they can understand only that they are top dog—the opposite of what you want them to understand.
Dogs with separation anxiety are not helped by sleeping in bed with you. Creating clear, gentle, consistent boundaries establishes you as the leader and helps ease their minds.
Crate vs Dog Bed for Sleeping
A dog can be happy sleeping in either his crate or a dog bed. Each option has pros and cons and training your dog to sleep in his dog bed or crate may take some time:
- Den-like surroundings naturally feel snug and safe to him
- Switching his sleeping spot is as easy as moving his crate
- Ensures he is a welcome guest when you travel
- Prevents housebreaking accidents and unwanted house behavior
- Can be noisy when he shifts position in the night
- If he has not been crate trained, confinement in the crate may make him anxious
- Comfortable for his joints
- He can curl up, stretch out, or get up to move around
- Bed is not noisy when he shifts position
- He may wake you if he tends to rise and pace
- He is free to engage in undesired house behavior
Crates vs Dog Beds
Consider your entire situation to help you decide whether to crate your dog at night.
For example, if your dog wakes you in the night when he moves in his crate, you have a few options. If he is young, new to you, or you otherwise can’t yet depend on impeccable house behavior, a crate in a different room might be the best choice. You could also give him a dog bed in the bedroom and use a dog gate or keep the door shut.
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 they benefit from 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.
Where Should Puppies Sleep?
Puppies should sleep in a crate near your bed. The first night at home you might even elevate the crate on a chair so that it’s right next to your bed, and move it down to the floor after a couple of nights. Similar to human babies, puppies are comforted by close proximity to their people. And also similar to human babies, puppies will disrupt their caregivers’ sleep until they are old enough to sleep through the night.
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 dogs) 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 nocturnal wildlife or dangerous plants or yard maintenance chemicals.Whether your dog sleeps in your bed, his own bed, on the couch, or in a crate, he’ll catch the ZZZs he needs. That’s why, at the end of the day, your needs should outweigh your dog’s when you’re deciding where he should sleep, and you should make the call without guilt. Rest easy that getting a good night’s sleep makes you a more patient pet parent and boosts your energy for exuberant play sessions during waking hours.