I’ll preface this by saying I’m guilty as charged – or at least I was guilty of letting my dog sleep with me. I’m reformed. Healed. Saw the error of my ways, and I’m here to help you all do the same. Do I judge you for letting your dog sleep with you in bed? No, no judgment here. I’ve been there. Done that. I’m simply here to help you see why this seemingly innocent act can lead to bigger issues down the road.
Here are 5 reasons why your dog should not sleep with you.
Blurring the lines – Dogs may be a man’s best friend, but man is a dog’s dominant master. It has to be that way. If we didn’t take on the dominant role, then we’d be the ones with collars around our necks, being told to “Go Make” and “Stay.” Okay, so it might not get to that level, but dogs need to know that we are the leader of the pack (just like children need parents who act like parents). By letting them sleep in your bed, you’re telling them that they are equals. That this space is as much theirs as it is yours. This could lead to other dominance issues such as rushing ahead of you to get to other rooms, ignoring your commands, and flat-out challenging your role as pack leader. You cherish sleep, and your bed. So does your dog. Don’t share your sacred space with him.
When the master is away … Once you invite your dog into your bed, you’ve invited him into your bed whether you’re in it or not. If you go to work and leave your room open, you can be certain that your dog will be in your bed. Here’s the problem, some dogs like to chew every now and then. Your pillow or blanket could become the victim. Other dogs unintentionally tear sheets or rip up stitching during the normal process of shuffling around. Your bed could possibly be in shambles within weeks if you let your dog sleep in it.
Dogs have accidents – Even housetrained dogs have an accident or two (not to mention dogs, like my Lab will puke every now and then. I don’t know – it’s her thing). An accident or mess on the floor is one thing. But on your bed? No thanks. Yes, it’s rare, if your dog is trained, but it happens. Eliminate the potential of it happening where you sleep by making your bed off limits.
Dogs shed. I admit this was the driving force for my kicking my dog out of the bed for good. Even if you cover your bed with a blanket (like I did), dog hair makes its way into your bed. Yeah, I see you non-shedding dog owners over there laughing to yourself. Don’t laugh too loudly. Dogs also track dirt, feces and more from their paws. Do you go to bed with your shoes on? Dogs do. And everything they walked on throughout the day will make it onto your bed.
Dogs get fleas, ticks, parasites, diseases and … No matter how well we take care of our dogs, they’re dogs, so they pick up some unsightly friends along the way. Fleas, ticks, mites, parasites, and more all have the potential of making their way onto your dog (and into your bed). This is more than an inconvenience. It’s a hazard to your health. This is the number one reason why vets will recommend you not let your dog sleep in your bed.
It’s never too late to enforce the rule
My dogs are proof. My lab is 5. Off and on for four years she slept in my bed, sometimes when I was in it, and certainly when I wasn’t. My boxer/pit is nearly 2. I rescued him when he was a year old. For the first two months after I got him, he was allowed in my bed (not at night, as he was crated). Then, one day, I decided I didn’t want dogs in my bed. I was sick of the mess, the hair, and while neither chose to sleep with me at night, I didn’t like the potential of their jumping on me in the night or early morning. So I put a stop to it. I made them get off the bed if they jumped on it. I brought them to their own beds or couch. I closed my door when I had to (although nowadays I don’t even have to do that). It took less than a month for my dogs to understand that the bed was off limits.
Even if you’ve let your dog sleep with you, or in your bed, for years, you can instill a change. Do it for your dog, and do it for yourself.