dog in bed
Here’s a question for you…

Does your dog sleep in the bed with you at night?

Don’t worry, there’s no right or wrong answer here. The reason I ask is simple…

According to new research, over HALF of all dog parents share a bed with their canine pals every night.1

Most people say it’s very comfortable and it rarely wakes them up.

On the other hand, 20% admit that while cuddling with their furry pal is nice, it’s also disruptive to their sleep.

And I want to be sure you take your time to make the right decision about where your fur baby sleeps.

After all, it’s easy (and wonderful) to allow your pup to hop into bed and snuggle up close. But there are a few reasons why this might not be the best arrangement.

So, to make it easier, I made a little checklist for you. I call it…

The Bedtime X-Factors

Pro #1: Co-sleeping makes you both happy

Anytime you cuddle with your pup, BOTH of your brains release oxytocin, the “love hormone.” It’s responsible for those warm and fuzzy feelings when you snuggle.

Not only that, it also helps reduce your stress levels and can even help lower your blood pressure.

Con #1: Co-sleeping can be challenging with senior dogs and puppies

Let’s be frank, both age groups need lots of sleep to stay healthy and fit.

And it can be hard to get comfortable with puppies who are potty training, or senior dogs who need space to be able to stretch their aging joints and muscles.

So age is a factor to consider. After all, there are many hours in the day when you can cuddle. At night, it’s important everyone gets their rest!

Pro #2: Peace of mind

Many dog parents report having their dog in the bed with them makes them feel safer (regardless of the dog’s size or breed.)

One study on patients with PTSD even showed that sleeping with your dog can reduce nightmares! 2

It makes sense — your furry pal has enhanced hearing, super smelling abilities, and canine protective instincts. It’s no wonder you might feel safer.

Con #2: Territory disputes

It can be hard to draw boundaries for your pup when they sleep in your bed.

After all, why can’t they chew a toy there too? Or hide their half-eaten treats in your pillows?

So for pups who like to “claim” their territory, it might be best to give them their own sleeping space, to help you BOTH feel more at ease.

Pro #3: Deeper sleep

Turns out, when you and your pup co-sleep, you can experience deeper sleep for longer periods of time.

It has to do with the combination of lowered blood pressure, extra warmth, and feelings of security. This trio can have you drifting off and falling deep asleep in no time.

In other words, your dog is like an all-natural furry sleep-aid.

Con #3: Less sleep

Studies show that while your REM cycles may be deeper, you often get about 20% less sleep with a dog in the bed.1

So for example, people who co-sleep with their pups sleep about 11 hours LESS per week than people who don’t catch zzz’s with their dog (based on an 8-hour sleep schedule.)

The truth is, dogs can be disruptive, even in their sleep.

But if you can sleep through the occasional tail in your face, paws in your back, or stinky dog farts… you’ll have no problem getting your rest 🙂

As you can see, there are pros and cons to sharing a bed with your dog, but the ultimate question is…

Does this arrangement work for you?

Just like us humans, every dog is an individual. And you shouldn’t feel bad about whatever works best for you and your family.

To you and your best friend,

Dr. Marty



P.S. Here’s a quick tip: If you decide your pup is better off sleeping in their own bed…

You can still help them feel close to you. Just fold one of your old t-shirts into their bedding. Your scent will be with them while you BOTH sleep soundly.

The “old t-shirt trick” is also good if you have to leave them with a dog-sitter or be out of the house for a while.


1. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 Dec;90(12):1663-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.08.012. Epub 2015 Oct 23.
2. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2018 Jun;41(2):118-124. doi: 10.1037/prj0000294. Epub 2018 Apr 26.