More than half of dog owners share their beds with their dogs, about the same number who regard the dog as a member of their family.
According the America Pet Products Association, 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners, compared to 41% of medium-sized dogs, and 62% of small dogs.
A new study.
In a recent study by the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, both dogs and humans wore activity monitors that recorded the soundness of their sleep. The study concluded that a dog’s presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected, but the dog’s position on or off the bed did make a difference. In another survey, this one of 23,000 dog owners, more than half of the owners reported that their dog bedmates woke them at least once a night.
Pros and cons.
Time says sleeping with your dog is good for you, but admits the Mayo study included only 40 people, most of whom were healthy, middle-aged women. Let’s add that the study did not control for the size or temperament of the dog or the human. After looking at the same findings, the Daily News says having your dog sleep in the bedroom is fine, but having it in the bed with you is not.
Why do so many do it?
The American Kennel Club says Aboriginal Australians slept with their dogs for warmth (hence the name of the band, Three Dog Night) and for protection from evil spirits. Barkpost.com is in favor of sleeping with dogs, saying they help us relax, they make us feel safe, and it makes the dogs happy. They also point out dogs in bed can disturb our sleep, aggravate allergies, come between us and our partners, and it may lead to aggressive behavior – presumably that of the dog. What none of these sources mentioned was that people whose sleep has been disrupted by dogs are likely to have stopped doing so – a matter of self-selection.
Regardless, the dogs always slept better than the owners, perhaps for not worrying about it.