I remember the first night I adopted my fur babies. I’ll never forget the day because not only was it one of my best memories, it was also a time that I went through my roughest nights.
It came time for bed and after a day of being the responsible pet owner I prepared to be, I was EXHAUSTED! I made a comfy, welcoming bed to mirror mine, tucked my new pup in and off I went to give myself the hard-earned rest I had worked for all day. But, like most things in life, plans didn’t go accordingly. Within 2 minutes of saying goodnight and parting our ways to our own sleeping surfaces, my puppy whined, yelped, howled, cried, barked, whatever he could to get my attention (and prevent me from getting my well-deserved sleep my body was preparing for).
Eventually, my heart couldn’t take it any longer. I gave in. After all the puppy training books I read and the extensive research I had done, I went exactly against what they told me to do within the first 24 hours. And after that night, it was a done deal.
This is one of the biggest debates we have, not only here at isense, but also one of the most debatable subjects among pet owners, vets, and professional trainers. Should you sleep with your dogs at night? My two fur babies have been sleeping with me (or should I say I’ve been sleeping with them) ever since the day I adopted them both. My dogs are now 90lbs and 70lbs each. So, as cute as it was on day one when they were maybe 15 lbs, I unfortunately don’t find it nearly as cute anymore.
I won’t say that there aren’t pros to sleeping with my dogs every night. In fact, I couldn’t imagine sleeping without them, and I’m sure that feeling is mutual! But, I do wonder, am I taking a loss by sleeping with an extra 8 legs in my bed 365 days of the year? Are my dogs interrupting my sleep? How does that affect my daytime schedule or more importantly, my work schedule?
As much as my dogs would love for me to stay home all day to play fetch, I go to work for most of the day. After work, I run any additional errands that need to be taken care of. Grocery shopping, dropping off dry cleaning, running by the pharmacy, picking up dog food (I have large dogs and they have a very large appetite), keeping up with friends and family, each of these things take time out of my day to prevent me from being home. But, each of these things are necessities and I can’t just stay home because my dogs give me those cute little puppy dog eyes every time they see me leaving my house.
However, I find myself feeling guilty for not getting to spend as much time as I’d like with them. I sometimes hope that although I can’t be home during the day to provide attention to my dogs, that maybe by the time I crawl into my nicely made bed, and I welcome my dogs up, that it makes up for the time lost. Despite sleep issues and the general hygiene facts, (let’s not forget that your dog doesn’t shower 1-2 times a day like you do), many people would rather suffer than deny their furry friends a spot next to them while they catch some Z’s. And really, can you blame them? I found it reassuring to learn that sleeping with your pet is more likely to compromise your health than theirs.
Unfortunately, when you choose to let your pet sleep in your bed, you also choose to welcome anything your pet decides to bring with them as well. The list of possible disadvantages to sleeping with your pet can go on and on, but I’ve thrown together some of the biggest disadvantages that made me think twice, whether I’m my dog’s number one fan or not.
- Pet Dander: We’ve heard of it, but do we understand and accept the fact that this is dead skin that our pets just shed? Not only is this quite disturbing, it’s not good for your respiratory system.
- Fur: Whether they’re a seasonal shedder, or a year-round, committed shedder, they shed! Sleeping with your pets fur can take a huge toll on your skin.
- Pollen: Bathe your dog every day, bathe your dog every year. Regardless of how often you bathe your pet, if it’s going outside, you should know that your pet now has pollen stuck to their fur, and now you’re snoozing away in it for 7-9 hours.
- Bed Hogging: My expectation when sleeping with my pets is that we can take that special time to bond, cuddle, and peacefully recharge. However, my reality is one dog stealing my pillow, while the other pulls off my blanket and takes up my leg room.
So, the question comes down to this: Should you be sleeping with your dog? And the answer is: Only you can answer that. If you’re finding that you have been putting your pet’s comfort before your own, it may be time to at least consider finding a new bed for your four-legged friend when it’s time to sleep. Some think it’s very beneficial, while some think it’s detrimental. At the end of the day, everyone is different and what may seem comfortable to you, isn’t going to be comfortable to the next person.
When I first started at iSense Sleep, I knew sleep was vital, but it’s not something that I paid much attention to. Since joining the team, I’ve done a full 360. I think of sleep as something that belongs at the tippy top of my health priorities, along with eating nutritious meals and drinking lots of water. I can’t help but want to be as proactive as possible when it comes to my health at this point. I mean come on, when you read about how the way you sleep effects how long you’ll live, it would only make sense to keep that at the top of my list!
My advice to an iSense Sleeper that may be questioning if they should sleep with their pet would be, it’s completely understandable to want to sleep with your pet and I don’t blame you one bit. Understand that it can be perfectly safe for you and your pet both, but - as long as you are both healthy. I look forward to getting that time with my dogs when we snuggle into bed, and even in the mornings when we all wake up piled on top of one another. It makes me feel close to my pups (literally!) and makes me feel like I’m somehow making up for the 8+ hours that I’ll be out of the house for.
However, I’ll be sure to keep my bed and bedding in tip-top shape. I’ve also tried to make it a habit to bathe my dogs more often, especially during allergy season. This isn’t easy to keep up with along with keeping up with my daily routine, but I’ve started to find that this is just as important for my health as getting that good night’s rest. Besides, who doesn’t love sleeping in fresh bedding? Cleaning my sheets, pillow cases and comforter every few days sounds a little over-excessive… but, I think I’d rather take “over-excessive” than sleeping in pet dander, fur, and pollen.