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bedding down: petplan pet insurance discusses pets sleeping in the bed

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

You know that you should let sleeping dogs lie, but should you let them lie in your bed? 

As a veterinarian, I know that the best sleeping place for a dog is on the floor, either in a crate or on a dog bed. In fact, behavior specialists and trainers almost universally recommend that dogs NOT sleep in bed with their owners. 


But as a pet owner, I know that is just not always practical. I’ll readily admit that my dog slept in the bed with me every night until she couldn’t climb the stairs anymore. Before I got married, I explained to my husband-to-be that having her in the bed with me was a non-negotiable. Sure it was crowded, but what’s a dog lover to do?


The subject of dogs sleeping in the big bed with their owners is not black and white, of course. Each family is different, and there is a lot to be said for both sides of the argument, so let’s get started.


First and foremost, puppies should not be sharing a bed with their owners. This situation is particularly hard to resist if your new puppy whines through the night, but the best place for a puppy is in a crate. Crate training is very helpful for potty training, and it keeps your new family member out of trouble. Not only are puppies not housetrained, but their temperament is not established, making them potentially dangerous to sleep with. Granted, you are unlikely to be seriously injured by a 9-week-old puppy, but a large-breed 6-month-old does have the potential to cause some real damage.


Puppies are particularly receptive to training as their little brains soak up cues from you, both intentional and otherwise. Puppyhood is the perfect time to set boundaries for your pet and establish good behaviors. While you’re working on the rules, it’s best to get your pet used to a sleeping place of his own. If his temperament eventually turns out to be not conducive to sleeping in the bed with you, he’ll never know what he is missing!


If you choose to have your dog sleep in the bed with you, it is best to wait until he is an adult. This way, he’ll be properly potty trained and will have learned good manners. You’ll also have a good idea of his temperament. Make sure he doesn’t snap or startle if woken suddenly to avoid accidental bites. Also, teach the “off” command and make sure he obeys. Remember: it is YOUR bed and you are just allowing your dog to share it with you. 


A final important matter to consider is the case of multiple dogs. If you have more than one dog, the bed can get crowded very quickly. Keep this in mind when you are thinking about adding canine companionship overnight.


While having a dog (or two) in bed with you is likely to cause some occasional sleep disturbances, the comfort it provides can be worth it. Canine and feline companionship eases emotional pain, and some people actually sleep better with the increased sense of security our furry friends bring. Sweet dreams!

What is your view on pets sleeping in the bed? Tell us in the comments!


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Posted by Colleen Courtney
on December 18 2014 23:04

I have 2 Jack Russell's that sleep under the covers with me every night. They make me feel safe and I can't sleep well if they are not next to me.

Posted by Tova Kaufman
on December 18 2014 10:11

my italian greyhound sleeps in the covers. Any iggy owner cN tell you they love it in there. I hate it when he's not with me

Posted by Tanya
on December 17 2014 22:46

Our Maltese has slept in our bed from the first night we brought her home. She has her spot and this is just the way it is and makes everyone feel happy and cozy Just use common sense when doing this and you should be OK.

Posted by Jennifer
on December 17 2014 21:52

I will admit that we let our dog sleep with us in bed from 8 weeks old on. She always slept through the night and never woke us up once to let her out, she was a solid sleeper from the get go. However, I DO realize this is FAR from the norm, just wanted to share that it worked out alright for us. Now she is two and spends most of the night on her big, comfy dog bed in our room. She typically joins us in bed around 5 or 6 to get some snuggles in before we leave for work. She is such a wonderful friend to us, I'm glad we did things the way we did but I certainly recognize that our situation would not work in most cases. She was a dream puppy, hardly any accidents. I joke that if we ever adopt a young one again he or she will probably be a terror to make up for how easy our girl has been.

Posted by Donna Gilmore
on March 19 2014 07:09

i've always had my dogs sleep with me. i've never thought twice about it. yes, i agree that one should wait until they are adults but having them there is very comforting and calming when starting to drift off to sleep. stroking my dog's back or head or whatever part he or she presents to me at the time(and i have 2 dogs, poms) is very soothing just before i fall asleep. sometimes one or both will leave in the middle of the night but it's ok. as soon as i start to stir in the morning, one or both come back to wake me up in the morning, my own 4 or 8 legged alarm clocks!

Posted by Patricia Riva
on February 27 2014 00:19

As a puppy, my toy poodle, Kaylee, started out in the crate until she was fully potty trained, and I had every intention of having her sleep there at night, but my husband at the time, who didn't want a dog in the first place, convinced me to let her sleep with us. She's 9 now and sometimes she cuddles, if it's especially cold, but mostly she likes to stretch out at the foot of the bed and chase rabbits in her sleep.

Posted by Jennifer Barnard
on February 26 2014 13:53

I allow my 6 year old min pin to sleep in bed with me, she has slept in bed with me since a pup, never had any problems of her hurting me, though I was always afraid I would roll over on her. I have found, I sleep way more soundly with her in bed with me. However during the day time she is not allowed on the bed unless I invite her.

Posted by Vicki Chellberg
on September 06 2013 09:31

Our Yorkie, Teddy, is a diabetic service dog and sleeps with us. He has kept dad from lapsing into a coma several times. If he can't be with us and we're sleeping without him, he is GREATLY missed. The dog in the bed is "just what the doctor ordered" in our house!

Posted by Alex B
on July 17 2013 10:29

My frenchie is crate trained when my wife and I aren't home, but sleeps with us at night. We had initially thought she'd sleep in a crate, but by the second week she was sleeping with us full time. Initially she slept between us, but now she's 2 years old and has her spot at the foot of the bed. I've always had golden retrievers and they'd always slept in their own dog beds, but with a frenchie I wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by D Anderson
on May 18 2013 18:38

I have a shitzu and a maltese poodle, they begin sleping in bed but eventually go to their own beds once the house is completely settled. If I leave them for longer periods then they will remain in bed all night. I like that they find comfort with me first,(in the crease of my bent legs) and the other with her head propped on my arm. I just love my babies in the bed, its so cozy, and my Husband has conformed and even calls them to bed with us now!

Posted by Sandra Daley
on May 07 2013 11:29

I allow my 6 year old well behaved 90# rottie Rhonda to sleep next to me when she softly cries to get into bed. She does this infrequently. She prefers to lie on the floor or on her comfortable pillow in the bedroom. I only allow her to lie next to me and she does not have control of the bed. I love when she lies next to me. My husband is tolerable of this occasional privilege but prefers to have no dogs in bed. He will ask me "why did she want to come to bed?" I can only answer because she she loves us.

Posted by Jodi Nelson
on May 06 2013 22:35

We have 3 little dogs( 9 lbs, 5lbs, 3lbs) in bed with us every night. If they get out, no getting back in. We also have a BIG puppy( 7 months and 75 lbs and growing) who is currently being crate trained. When he is fully grown, we will see about him joining us, but for now he sleeps by the bed in his crate. The little girls help with my back spasms so I can sleep at night, but it is MY bed they share.

Posted by Claudia Stouffer
on May 06 2013 12:47

We sleep with three great danes and a rotti everyight! Of course we have 2 beds a queen and a king but it works. I could not get any sleep if my pups were not cuddling with me.

Posted by evelyn levin
on May 05 2013 11:37

My bed!! It's Daisy's bed and I'm happy she lets me share with her.She's my 12 year old Yorkie and we eat and exercise healthfully so that we can have many more years together-Bed sharing is the best!

Posted by Irish Eyes
on May 03 2013 12:40

My Lab Spaniel mix, the beautiful Lady, and my handsome Abby, Kell, sleep with me every night. Lady has the right side, I have the left, and Kell sleeps wherever he can find a spot! We three are very happy, snugly, and warm all night long! Inwouldn't have it any other way!!

Posted by JR Trevas
on May 02 2013 23:15

At bedtime, Nugget (Golden Retriever) immediately joins me. He has learned exactly where to place himself so that when my husband comes to bed Nugget is exactly in the middle between us. My husband and I both sleep better with Nugget there, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by Kim Bracher
on May 02 2013 22:15

My Golden Retriever slept in her crate until she was completely potty trained and then she slept in it, with the door open, for many months later. She would go back into the crate on her own, which I think was a secure spot for her. Once I let her sleep in my bed, which I loved, she would start out in bed and end up in her open crate. I moved when she was 6 years old and asked her to sleep in her new round, comfy pet bed, right next to my bed. She would want to jump into my bed but a quick "no" stopped her....she is so well behaved. Now, at age 8 1/2' she is happy on her round bed and I don't worry about her getting hurt jumping off my bed. Life is good!

Posted by HK Moore
on May 02 2013 10:48

My wife and I initially weren't going to let our lab on the bed, thinking she'd be on the crate or on the floor next to us, and the crate was in our room anyway- But we started letting her cuddle with us before we went to sleep, after she was properly house-trained. That turned into us falling asleep with her on the bed, but one of us would put her back in the crate if we woke up. Theh, if we slept all through the night, she'd quietly wake my wife up in the morning to go out by licking her hands or cheeks. Since my wife takes the morning potty run, this was okay with both of us- Now she sleeps with us every night. So I guess we're in the "Pro" category, assuming your dog is house trained and not liable to bite, like this article states.

Posted by Sandy Martin
on May 02 2013 07:10

My Australian Labradoodle puppy is 8 months old and has "earned" the right to sleep on the bed. The important thing.... it is by invitation only. Two pats on the bed signal the invitation and if he is a little too antsy, he is asked to go to his bed on the floor. He has slept in a soft crate next to the bed ever since the night he arrived at 10 weeks and never cried or fussed. I've had up to 2 dogs and 1 cat on the bed at night.... but I try to make it on my terms. That being said, there is nothing that cures insomnia for me like curling up with my dog!

Posted by Diane Burley
on May 01 2013 18:35

2 of my 3 schnauzers sleep in the bed with me and my husband. we love having them there. and they love being there. good article.

Posted by Donna Nelson
on May 01 2013 17:09

Kai, my Shiba Inu sleeps in bed with me and understands that he has his side and I have mine. I am receptive to cuddling but plopping down on my side before I get into bed is frowned on. He occassionally does this for fun and then grins when I frown at him and hops up and moves to his own side. Sometimes due to my restless sleeping habits he will prefer his own bed or the floor but it's comforting to have him there and we play with one of his toys at night before we settle down and go to sleep and that's nice. It helps me forget my cares of the day and relax for the night. Since he's only 25 lbs. he doesn't take up all that much space. Not like my five wolf hybrids used to when they were still alive. I miss them but love my Shiba kid and appreciate the extra bed space.

Posted by Deborah Pardi
on May 01 2013 15:48

I have a Yorkie, and he has always slept in my bed, since I got him at a rescue 2 years ago. In preparation for going to a lodge that doesn't allow dogs on the furniture and on the bed, I purchased one of those cave beds. He objected at first, but now he comes up the stairs to my bed and says goodnight, and then goes back down to his own bed until morning and then comes back up and wakes me up with kisses. Who knew? And I feel like I can move around now in my bed, without possibly kicking him.

Posted by Nicole Fugate
on May 01 2013 12:45

I have cats that sleep with me every night. The feeling of love and security that comes from cuddling with my furkids is priceless

Posted by Debbie Steele
on May 01 2013 12:03

I have a 100lb boxer that sleeps in my bed every night. My husband travels and I love that he is there. He has to touch me in order to go to sleep. He was crate trained as a puppy and when I first started to put him in my room he actually slept under the bed! He is very protective of me now and sometime when my husband is home doesnt want to make room for him but he does eventually. As far as dog hair, just wash everything weekly, including the dog.

Posted by anne meddings
on May 01 2013 09:33

Kitties in bed = bliss. Waking me up at 4am for a snack = not so much!

Posted by Brenda V.
on May 01 2013 09:23

Both of our 70-pound labs sleep in our king-size bed along with a cat or two most nights. I love that time just before going to sleep when I can give them extra attention without distractions. If my husband is out of town, it is a must for me to feel secure as well.

Posted by Lynda
on April 04 2013 15:08

Mine is only 30 lbs. and yes, she sleeps with me when I first go to bed. BUT, once she realizes I'm almost asleep, she goes down on the floor next to my bed (I don't make her, she just does it). She was crate trained when she was a puppy and slept next to me (in her crate, on the floor) then, so now she still does, by her own accord/want. I love my Honey.

Posted by Evelyn Nunes
on April 04 2013 14:32

I don't think dogs should sleep in our beds. First, if you do that and later want to change (say, when you get company or kids) it's hard for the dog to understand that. Second, their paws are dirty and I think the bed should be a very clean place. Not to mention all the hair. I think it's good to set boundaries so everyone has its own bed.

Posted by Renee
on April 04 2013 14:16

Our family has always let the family dogs sleep in the bed with us.. but we have always had smaller dogs. Never any issues.. it feels like they belong there with us <3

Posted by Robin B
on April 04 2013 13:40

Dogs, no (one prefers crate, one is unable to get onto the bed, or get down if put on the bed, and the other is way too big, even with king size!). Kitties? What's the question? ;) Cannot sleep without them, esp. my lil Prince Joey.

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