should dogs sleep on your bed

Should Dogs Sleep On Your Bed?

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It’s no secret that dog lovers are known to be indulgent with their companion animals, from purchasing Christmas gifts for the canines in their lives to being willing to quit their office job if remote work and accessibility to their dog was no longer an option. 

Some pet parents even take their love and devotion a step further by letting their dog cozy up with them in bed for the night. In a recent online survey of 1,000 American dog owners, 76% of respondents reported that they allowed their dog to sleep on their bed at night.  

What are the top reasons American dog owners co-sleep with their dog, how does it impact everything from mental health to marriages, and what do experts say about the benefits of letting dogs on the bed at night? Continue reading to uncover our survey insights.

 

 

Should Dogs Sleep On Your Bed? Survey Highlights

  • -76% of American dog owners allow their dog to sleep on their bed at night.
  • -Among dog owners who do not allow it, 26% feel guilty about their decision. However, 57% of these pet owners still keep their pets close by, allowing them to sleep in the bedroom.
  • -72% of pet owners who sleep with their dog say they experience a nightmare at least once in a given month, while only 58% pet owners who don’t sleep with their dog experience the same, possibly suggesting that nightmares may be a reason dog owners want their companion animal close by. 
  • -Nearly a third (32%) of married pet owners say they disagree with their spouse on whether or not to allow pets to sleep on the bed at night. 
  • -33% of married pet owners say their best quality of sleep comes from sharing their bed with only their dog. 
  • Single dog owners are slightly more likely to co-sleep with their dog. 80% of single dog owners allow their dog on the bed at night as opposed to only 73% of married dog owners allowing it.

 

 

Top Reasons People Co-Sleep with Their Dog:

  • -Helps reduce feelings of stress, 67%
  • -Helps reduce feelings of anxiety, 60%
  • -Helps reduce feelings of loneliness, 59%
  • -Helps pet feel more comfortable, 55%
  • -Helps pet owner feel safer at night, 53%
  • -Helps reduce feelings of depression, 51%
  • -Helps strengthen pet owner/pet bond, 51%

 

According to our survey of 1,000 American dog owners, the top reason provided for allowing dogs to sleep on the bed at night stems from the purported stress reduction it provides, with 67% of pet parents saying co-sleeping with their dog helps reduce their feelings of stress. Co-sleeping also appeared to have an effect on reducing feelings of anxiety (60%) and loneliness (59%). These numbers were only slightly higher among single dog owners, suggesting that these positive benefits impact both singletons and married pet owners similarly.

 

Top Reasons People Don’t Co-Sleep with Their Dog:

  • -Concerns about germs and cleanliness, 45%
  • -Concerns about fleas and ticks, 40%
  • -Pet moves too much in sleep, 29%
  • -Concerns about allergies, 21%
  • -Pet has accidents in bed, 18%
  • -Other*, 16% 
  • -Pet makes too much noise in sleep, 15%

 

*Other reasons given include dogs that are too big for the bed, a dog’s preference to sleep on their own bed, a spouse objecting to having dogs in the bed, issues with shedding, having too many dogs to all fit on the bed, or concerns about small dogs falling from high beds. 

Not all pet parents are interested in co-sleeping with their dog at night. The top reason given by those who prefer to keep the dogs off the bed revolved around the matter of germs and cleanliness, with 45% of survey respondents citing this concern. This was closely followed by worries around fleas and ticks (40%). Nearly a third of survey respondents (29%) claimed their dogs simply move too much in their sleep, which understandably can negatively impact a pet owner’s quality of sleep during the night.

 

Married Couples and Co-Sleeping with Dogs

co-sleeping with dogs

  • -56% of married pet owners say they experience their best quality of sleep when they share their bed with both their dog and their human partner. 
  • -33% say their best quality of sleep comes from sharing their bed with only their dog. 
  • -Nearly a third (32%) of married pet owners say they disagree with their spouse on whether or not to allow pets to sleep on the bed at night. 

 

More than half of married pet owners prefer a full bed at night, claiming their experience their best quality of sleep when they share their bed not only with their human partner but also with their dog. Meanwhile, a third of married pet owners say their best quality of sleep comes from sharing their bed with only their dog. And for 32% of married pet owners, it sounds like one partner may occasionally end up in the dog house from time to time, as it seems that for these respondents, they disagree with their spouse on whether or not to allow pets to sleep on the bed at night.

 

 

Benefits of Co-Sleeping with Your Dog

According to a special health report from Harvard Medical School, interactions with dogs are calming for people, leading to decreases in their levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and increases in their levels of oxytocin (the ‘bonding hormone’ commonly released when a mother nurses her infant). Dogs can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, support healthy blood pressure, and even lower the risk of an early death by 24%. It’s no wonder then that so many tout the benefits of having their dogs close by at night.

However, there are instances when dogs shouldn’t be allowed on the bed, such as when it’s disturbing your sleep, aggravating your allergies or asthma, or when nighttime movement causes your dog to snap or snarl at you. Some pet parents also opt out of co-sleeping due to certain health issues or simply as a result of personal preferences. In cases such as this, it may be a better idea to let a companion animal sleep on their own bed, either nearby in the bedroom or in a comfortable space where the animal feels secure.

 

 

The survey featured in this report was administered online via the survey platform Pollfish and ran from July 20-21, 2022, including no less than 1,000 respondents.