why does my dog want to sleep with me

PPPP "I have always shared my bed with my English Cocker Spaniel, Elsapeth. I feel comfortable with her and I think that it improves the quality of my sleep. For that reason, I was surprised (and upset) when my fianc, who is doing his medical internship at VGH [Vancouver General Hospital], told me that the accepted opinion in the medical community is that a dog should not be allowed to sleep on the bed with a person, and probably should not even be allowed to sleep in the same room. Can you point me to some actual research on this issue? "
The timing of her question turned out to be serendipitous:PAPnew study in thePMayo Clinic Proceedings P deals specifically with this topic. Several surveys have shown that roughlyP allow their dogs to sleep on their bed with them. Dog owners give a variety of reasons for sharing beds with their canine companions, one of the most common being that dogs are warm it just feels good to snuggle up to a dog on a cold night. In fact, dogs have a body temperature three to six degrees higher than our own, making themPefficient bed warmers. The term "three dog night" comes from the Canadian maritime provinces, where it was standard practice to take your dog (or dogs) to bed with you on a cold night to help keep you warm. Dogs also seem to help us relax. A dog's rhythmic breathing, when one lies next to you, can helpPlull you to sleep. In addition, being near a dog increases our flow of, a hormoneP. A third reason for with a dog is that that they can make us feel safe. Many of us feel somewhat vulnerable when we lie in bed, alone and in the dark. PThe presence of a dog, regardless of its size, can givePus a sense of protection. The major reasonPmedical practitionersP don'tP want you to sleep with your dog is that they may disturb a good night's rest. InPa survey, 53 percentPof pet owners reported that their dogs tend to wake them at least once on any given night. Since sleep deprivation, no matter its cause, can have negative physical and mental effects, the conservative recommendation from the medical community has been to simply eliminate this source of sleep disturbance by removing the dog from your bed. But previous sleep disturbance data didPnot directly measurePthe impact of sleeping beside your canine. Since it was not known whether canine-related sleep disturbance has a major or minor effect on the total amount and quality ofPsleep, a research from the Mayo Clinic, headed by Salma Patel, decided to look into the question.


These investigators usedP actimeters P(movement detectors), which were strapped onto both humans and dogs. The investigative team used these devices to monitorPsleeping patterns over a seven-day period. Specifically they looked at sleep efficiency, which is measured by comparing the amount of time you spend actually sleeping to thePamount of time you are in bed overall. A sleep efficiency of 80 percent or morePis considered to be sufficient. The study found that when sleeping with a dog in the bedroom but not on the bed people maintained an 83 percent sleep efficiency, whichPmeets those satisfactory standards. Allowing the dog to sleep on the bed caused only a minor drop in sleep efficiency, to anPaveragePslightly above the acceptable 80 percent mark. This is despite the fact that people with a dog in their bed did, in fact, wake up more frequently throughout the night compared to those whose dog slept elsewhere. The previous research was correct in demonstrating that people sharing their bed with a dog did experience some sleep disturbance. However, in terms of the total amount of sleep obtained each night, the effects were negligible. It is interesting to note that having a human companion next to you in bed did not cause similar sleep disturbances. People who slept two-in-a-bed actually had better sleep efficiency than those who slept alone. This finding may have implications for people who find that their human partner objects to the idea of sharing their sleeping accommodations with a dog. This is important, since studies show that 13 percent of couples admit to having disagreements on whether their dog should be in bed with them or not. The fact that a human partner and a canine partner might not get along well in bed can be confirmed by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte. When he married Josephine, he learned that her Pug, Fortune, always slept with her. On their wedding night, Napoleon was surprised to find that Josephine insisted that the dog remain on the bed as usual. Later that evening, when the newlyweds wereP flagrante delicto, Fortune took offense at what was going on between his mistress and the general and demonstrated this by biting the French on his thigh.


Napoleon was not amused, and he bore a scar and a grudge against the Pug for the rest of his life. Copyright SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission. photo: Rasulov/Shutterstock A survey this week has revealed that over a third of all pet owners let their dog share their bed. I watched the news report with my own two dogs cuddled up in bed alongside me. These pack animals think its super for everyone to sleep in a big pile, theyll take sleeping in your bed over sleeping anywhere else in the world! Which is rather endearing. 1. Dogs get heavier when theyre on the bed. Its a fact. They seem to weigh far more than usual when trying to move them over, move them off you or just move them off the bed. In fact you cant move them at all. 2. Their snoring is way worse than your partners. But over the years it has become a comfort to you. 3. Youve woken up with a bum in your face. And not a human one. 4. Its a lie dogs dont usually sleep curled up in a little ball, most sleep stretched right out. Which means you usually cant. Youve learnt how to sleep in various convoluted shapes take the unmoveable dogs position on the bed into account. 5. And you have learnt how to sleep without rolling over or having any free movement to take the unmoveable dogs position on the bed into account. 6. Which means you are always full of aches and pains. 7. At least you ALWAYS have a creature to blame suspicious smells on. Because there will be a LOT of suspicious smells. 8. And suspicious damp patches. 9. Your bedroom is not a peaceful, relaxing sanctuary. It is little more than a playground. Lets all jump on the bed! 10. And your bedroom is certainly not a romantic boudoir. Dog either wants in on the play or gives you such a look youre unable to carry on with any romantic endeavours. Even with them behind the door expect the howling to put you off or the hair and slobber in the bed to kill the mood. 11. Because yes you have a lot of hair and slobber in your bed. 12. And bits of bone and chew toy. 13. And a film of gritty dust that dogs just seem to leave behind, like fine sand spread across your bed.


You have to spend half an hour brushing the sheets and shaking the duvet out before you can even get in or its like sleeping on the beach. 14. In fact you dream of the nights you can slip into a freshly laundered bed before the dog has had a chance to turn it back into the pooch pit. 15. You love and trust your dog but youve read the stories of people having their faces pulled off while they sleep by rabid canines. Best keep a couple of senses still on alert just in case. 16. Your dogs senses are always still on alert so dont let that snoring fool you one sniff of a neighbour coming home late and youre all up and barking, no matter what time it is. Still at least its useful if you ever have burglars. SHHH! Dont wake them. (Picture: StephsShoes) MORE: 17. Someone will tell you that it encourages bad or dominant behaviour in your dog and shouldnt be allowed. 18. So you have a stab at least once a year of trying to get you both out of the habit. The resulting sleepless nights of crying and howling beat you and dog is soon back on the bed. 19. Youre unable to make full use of all the space in an dogless bed now anyway youre so conditioned into a sleeping in a static Y shape. 20. Your dog spends a bit of time circling and patting down the bed before they make their spot just right and fall into it. Theyre more comfortable than you. 21. In very deep sleep the dog vibrates with their dreams, sometimes they judder all over the place. Its rather funny. 22. Youre secretly grateful for the warmth on a cold night. 23. You are woken up by a tongue to the face or paws on the head as dog who has no respect for hangovers or alarm clocks roots you out from your burrow with enthusiasm every morning. 24. The pillow is the top spot, you sometimes have to move dog down just to get your own head on it. 25. Therell be an accident one day, if it hasnt happened yet it will. A young dog can get over-excited and an old dog can lose control, whatever, be prepared to encounter a steaming lake or pile right in the centre of your duvet. One day. 26. Youve spooned your dog, you loved it. Admit it. MORE: MORE:

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