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sleeping with pets: it may help you sleep better, unless you have one of these dogs

  • 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? 


Many pet owners look forward to climbing into bed with their canine companion or friendly feline (your bed, not theirs!) at the end of the day. There’s just something about the warmth and weight of their furry bodies that makes the bed more comfortable. And a recent study from the Mayo Clinic showed that sleeping with pets actually helps many people sleep better! Win, win!


Of course, sharing the bed with pets is not a good idea for everyone. In fact, 20% of the people surveyed by the Mayo Clinic said that their sleep was disturbed by their pets, so if you’re one of those people, you should do a little cost-benefit analysis on whether snuggle time is worth the lost shuteye.


Now that we’ve established that sharing a bed with your pets can be beneficial to you, let’s stop and consider whether sharing your bed is in your pet’s best interest. Most veterinary experts will say that it is not a good idea in some cases:



This situation is particularly hard to resist if your new puppy whines through the night – but puppies should sleep in their own bed, and preferably this bed is in their crate. Not only does this help with potty training, but it also keeps your youngster out of trouble overnight when you can’t supervise her every curious move. On a more serious note, puppies’ temperaments are not yet established, which could lead to potentially dangerous situations in the night.


Puppyhood is the perfect time to set boundaries 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’s missing!


If you choose to let your dog sleep in the bed with you, it’s best to wait until he’s grown up. 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’s your bed and you’re just allowing your dog to share it with you. 


Dogs that are new to the house.

Again, you don’t know your new dog’s temperament, and your new dog doesn’t yet know the house rules. It’s important to establish clear boundaries and make sure you enforce them. Until your new dog earns a spot in bed with good behavior, the bed is yours and yours alone.


Dogs with behavior problems.

Whether it’s separation anxiety or territorial aggression, dogs with “issues” need more boundaries than others. Sleeping in bed with you has the potential to exacerbate existing behavior quirks, turning them into full blown problems.


An example of a bad candidate for sharing a bed easily comes to my mind. One of my clients slept on the couch many a night. He shared a bed with his two large dogs, who were sweet and lovable by day, but if they beat him to the bed, they would absolutely not allow him to sleep there. It does make me laugh to think of them all racing to bed to see who would get there first, but seriously, folks, this is not right. Your pets need to know that the bed is yours, and you’re generous enough to share it with them.


Keep in mind that what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander, but if your dogs and cats are good candidates for sleeping in bed with you, go for it! You’ll both sleep better, and there’s nothing quite like waking up next to a warm, fuzzy body. (Of course, if you’re sleeping with your cats, it’s more likely they’re waking you up with a paw to the face, but that’s a story for another blog…)


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

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Posted by Jody B
on July 29 2017 17:52

2 nights after getting my 8 week old kitten, he woke me at 3:00 AM wanting to play...with his claws. After that, I trained him to sleep elsewhere. It took a while, but eventually he just got his bedtime treat and allowed me to close my bedroom door. About 2 years later, he cried outside of my bedroom door for the first time so I let him in since he no longer uses his claws on people...EVER, for play or otherwise. Now he usually climbs into bed with me shortly after I go to bed, some nights he stays, most nights he eventually makes it to his window bed in the living room.

Posted by Roxana Fryklund
on December 06 2016 15:15

We had two long-hair Chihuahuas that have since passed on. Both slept with us under the covers every night. We finally decided it was time for a new dog and got another long-hair Chihuahua. This one is bigger and seems like he might not be pure bred but we don't care, we love him! He absolutely refuses to sleep in bed with us. We tried right from when he was a puppy but he wants to sleep on his own bed. I don't think we did anything different but our little one sleeps by himself. Sad :(

Posted by Carol Figeroid-Burgi
on December 06 2016 12:03

My cat starts the night snuggling but sometime around 3AM she has decided that she's had enough coziness for time being so she heads to her own bed. However, she shows up at about 5:30AM, which is when I need to get up, and she gently pats my nose. That's the nicest alarm clock I've ever had!

Posted by Beth Ellen Nash
on December 05 2016 17:27

Love having my cats sleep with me. When we first had a cat, shortly after we were married, he could snuggle with me until my husband came to bed. But then had to leave. But he rattled the door so much with an insistent paw that didn't last after me moved to our second apartment. Our new kitties we've had for over 4 years now have slept with me from day 1. My husband usually sleeps downstairs, so he only thinks it's his pillow and bed. The cats know otherwise. Love my kitty snuggle.

Posted by Daniel Rogers
on December 05 2016 11:47

Our Toy Manchester Terrier(Lottie) has been sleeping in our bed about the last 10 of Her 14yrs. In between Us, buried under pillows and comforter, the more the better for Her. She also gets Her butt wiped and teeth brushed (Mom's rules). She's deaf now but looks out of the windows and curtains for possible intruders and barks accordingly. She has a built-in alarm clock for food, treats & walks and whines 'till She gets what She wants.

Posted by Leslie Fideler
on December 05 2016 11:35

I see sections on puppies and dogs - what about kittens and cats? I've read that kittens should be sequestered in their own smaller space for a while but does that affect their socialization? Our older cat slept with her foster mom. When we adopted her, we kept her in a separate bedroom with litter box and water and she cried every night until we let her free roam. She grew up to be somewhat skittish and only sleeps with us when it's cold out. This may just be her personality (or her body temp or the result of other factors in her socialization). That said, I'll always wonder if she'd be more of a cuddle bug if we had let her sleep with us when she was tiny.

Posted by Donna Neuleib
on December 05 2016 10:01

It's a two-dog here. Small-One (19 lbs)has his small bed on "his side" and loves it. Smaller-One (11 lbs)burrows under the covers or under a small blanket on top of the bed. Both are comfortable with this arrangement, and so am I.

Posted by Dennis J. Knight
on November 21 2016 17:48

I am disabled and my wife Jerrie and I have a miniature Doxie and 2 rescued cats.. Dixie is our dog and Spike and Dash our cats and they all get along great !!! I sleep on the couch and our Doxie is with me during the day and the wife at night. 1 cat sleeps with her and 1 with me. I think your advice is good for those who have doubts.. For my wife and I.. She was raised on a dairy farm and lots of animals. My self, I have always had dogs sleep with me since I was about 3yrs old...(71 now) and never had a problem... I can not fully explain the emotional bond... except to say ... We both feel the warmth of their bodies and a Love that is shared by ALL !!!

Posted by Sara Kent
on August 08 2015 12:50

I crated my puppies, but allowed them to sleep with me. We now have 3 in the bed. We have to jockey for room sometimes, but they love it, and I have to say, I do too.

Posted by Marti Capuco
on August 08 2015 08:49

Great article. Our dogs generally are invited to hang with me since I retire earlier than my husband and like to read in bed. I fall asleep much faster with them close by. When my husband walks into the room they know to scatter and they jump off the bed onto their own. It works for all inclined.

Posted by Johanna O
on August 07 2015 21:46

My 12 year old min poodle has been sleeping on my bed forever, when I brought a new puppy home, I trained him to sleep in his bed until he was big enough to jump in bed. After that there was absolutely no human power that would bring him down to his bed ever again. However, I love waking up to them. I love them sooo much they have no idea. It's best!!!!

Posted by Carol maselli
on August 07 2015 21:43

I have always had my dogs sleep with me on my bed. It is security for me as well as for them

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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