People have polarizing opinions on whether you should let a puppy sleep with you. In this article I will tell you what I think, and my experiences, but also give you a balanced viewpoint, with the pros and cons of letting a puppy sleep in the bed with you.
Once you’ve read this and understand the potential risks and downsides to a puppy sleeping in your bed, it’s then up to you to make your own mind up – don’t worry, there are some upsides too – here’s the short answer first.
Should I let my puppy sleep with me? Your puppy can sleep with you in your bed at night, but there are some downsides including your own sleep, possible bacteria, and them developing separation anxiety for the future.
That’s my balanced answer, if I was to give you my own view, I’d say that no, you should not let your new puppy sleep with you. That’s based on my own experiences which you can read below in the negatives – which also include the positives too.
Check it all out and see what you think.
Should you let a puppy sleep with you and in your bed?
Humans and dogs both need a decent night’s sleep. If you feel you can do that with your puppy sleeping in your bed, then please do.
But, when we’ve tried this with a young puppy, we had issues of him constantly being restless, jumping out of the bed, and keeping us awake. It also meant we struggled to crate train him properly because he didn’t feel he belonged in there… it can set you up for problems in the future – but you will need to deal with the guilt of them crying!
My puppy wants to sleep with me!
Of course, he wants to sleep with you – he can’t bear to be away from you. Not everyone thinks the same as me and will say it’s fine to let a puppy sleep with you (providing they’re fully crate trained and potty trained).
In fact, it’s almost a split opinion, as according to the American Kennel Club, 45% of dog owners let their pets sleep with them… and here’s why those puppies like it:
- He wants that warmth and comfort: It’s likely your puppy has taken several daytime naps on your bed before and knows sleeping sessions slap differently on the big bed! For this reason, they’d give anything to share your bed with you at night. Your pup may also want some extra warmth for the night, and they know they’ll find the warmest spots beside you.
- He wants to bond with you: Your puppy loves being around you, and wanting to sleep next to you is their way of saying they want to bond more with their favorite person. Plus, your furry pal knows sharing a bed with you is signing up for hours-long cuddling sessions!
- It gives him a sense of security: Your puppy knows that a night spent with you is a chance to let their guard down and sleep more peacefully. In a perfect world, sharing your bed with your puppy would be totally risk-free, and you’d have nothing to worry about. But our fur babies are far from perfect, which means making it the norm to sleep with your pup each night can cause a few problems (or lots of them if your puppy isn’t fully crate trained – it’s so important).
Even then, the decision to have plenty of cozy nights with your furry companion also depends on how much you’re willing to compromise, as you’ll soon read… and some potential risks too.
Pros and cons of letting puppy sleep in your bed
Let’s start with the negatives and why you shouldn’t sleep with your puppy.
Con 1. You won’t enjoy quality sleep
If you cherish a good night’s sleep, allowing your pup to keep you company throughout the night may not be a good idea. Our little canine friends have a different sleep pattern to us. Dogs are classed as polyphasic sleepers and average three sleep/wake cycles an hour each night. Compare that to humans who are classed as monophasic sleepers and usually sleep for one longer period.
Your pup will sleep the day away, and come 4 am, start acting as though they are preparing to compete in the puppy Olympics!
If you allow your pup to sleep with you in your bed, expect them to move around at night or bark for you for attention when all you want is to sleep with no disruptions.
You also need to consider the size of the puppy. Depending on the breed, he could be big already and take up space in the bed preventing you from getting comfortable. And if he’s big now, imagine what it’s going to be like when he’s fully grown and refuses to sleep anywhere else.
Some breeds, particularly brachycephalic ones like French Bulldogs, will snore. That will keep you up and it will only get worse as they get older. If your puppy doesn’t snore, he will do this fast-breathing thing as he enters the REM mode of sleep – that can also be distracting.
Your own quality of sleep is the number one reason why you should not let a puppy sleep with you. It’s backed up by science too (view source).
“According to a 2018 exploratory study of human-dog co-sleeping, Do Dogs Disrupt Their Owner’s Sleep, researchers found co-sleeping with a dog “appears to result in measurable, but relatively mild, reductions in overall sleep quality” but advised weighing any detrimental impact against the benefits of co-sleeping.”
Another study came to a similar conclusion.
“Another study published in the 2017, The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment, showed that having a dog sleep in your room improves your sleep, but having a dog sleep in the bed with you does not. Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog’s position on/off the bed made a difference.”
Con 2. Allergies and Itches
Second on my list of reasons to not let a puppy sleep in bed with you is for health reasons. The words ticks, fleas, dirt (fecal matter), and hair should be enough to make you sit up and take notice before you let your puppy into bed with you at night.
It’s natural for puppies to shed their fur. So, if your pup becomes your sleeping companion, expect hair leftovers on your bed. This shedding can be a nuisance if you have allergies.
Plus, if you don’t deworm your pup frequently, they’ll carry fleas and other nasty parasites to your bed. So before inviting your furry friend to spend the night with you, make sure you’ve been following through with their deworming program.
The last thing you’d want to experience is uncontrollable itching and other infections.
And don’t just take my word for it. The chief veterinary officer at the AKC said this on whether you should let a puppy sleep with you:
“One of the concerns is the transmission of zoonotic diseases that are transmissible from animals to people. Dogs are not the most hygienic and they have been known to carry and transmit germs and parasites in their saliva and feces. Feces may be present on a dog’s rectal area but also on the underside of the tail and rear limbs. Parasites like roundworms and hookworms are contagious to humans, and young children or people with immune conditions are especially concerning.”
Con 3. Potty accidents can happen
Before giving your puppy a spot in your bed, make sure they’re fully potty trained. This is where crate training comes in. If your furry friend gets used to spending the night alone, they’re less likely to turn their favorite little den into a urine-soaked space.
Crate training teaches your pup to stick to proper potty habits. If your puppy isn’t potty trained, brace yourself for frequent potty accidents in your bed.
But also remember, even when your puppy is trained, the sudden change in their sleeping area can cause a potty accident on your bed.
Why is that?
Your puppy isn’t as cautious about messing on your bed as they are about their crate. They may, or may not, signal you when they want to have a potty break at night.
So ideally, it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to risk your clean beddings by letting your puppy spend the night in your bed.
Con 4: You might hurt the puppy
The last consideration is how you could harm your puppy if they sleep in your bed. It’s not just the possibility of you rolling over and onto them, but also the risk of them falling from the bed.
And depending on where your bedroom is, they might even decide to wander off and have an accident, perhaps on the stairs or off a balcony. Puppies should not be allowed to roam around the house at night.
Con 5: Your puppy might develop separation anxiety
If your puppy gets used to sleeping in your bed with you, it could increase the chance of them developing separation anxiety. After all, if they don’t learn to be without you, they will potentially store up issues for the future.
But there are good things about letting a puppy sleep in bed with you…
Pro 1: Keeps you warm and feeling safe
By letting your puppy sleep in bed with you now, it’s a habit you will have to continue until he’s a bigger dog. For some people this will keep them warm and feeling safe, because the dog can alert against intruders or a house fire.
Pro 2: Possibly lowers stress
Other owners also feel more mentally secure and do sleep better with a puppy in their bed next to them. There’s some evidence that owner’s blood pressure lowers when their dog sleeps with them.
The vet from the AKC said:
“During the pandemic many people adopted or bought dogs, which meant many were sharing their beds with their new canine companions. Some people found that it brought them comfort, safety, and increased their oxytocin levels.”
Tips for letting a puppy sleep with you
After all you’ve now read, it’s up to you. If you think you should let a puppy sleep in your bed with you, then here’s how to prepare.
Crate train, before anything else
The most important factor to consider before allowing your pup to be your sleeping companion is whether you’ve crate trained them. Crate training will enable you to mold your pup into an independent sleeper while they’re still young.
Look at it this way.
If your furry friend gets used to spending each night in bed with you, yet you haven’t trained them, they’ll expect you to always sleep with them. Once this becomes a habit, it’s over for you, literally!
There may be nights when all you want is to have the entire bed to yourself. But since you’ve already shown your puppy there’s nowhere else they can rest at night other than in your bed, that’s how you’ll kiss your chances of ever sleeping alone goodbye.
On the flip side, if your furry baby learns their nighttime routine involves sleeping in the comfy, warm crate you set up for them, they’ll eventually love spending the night alone in their crate.
Handy Hint: Don’t ever let a puppy sleep in his crate with a collar on, it can be fatal.
The best part? When you’re not feeling the idea of having them keep you company during the night, you won’t have a hard time putting them to sleep in their crate.
Once your pup has gotten the hang of spending the night alone, then having them over in your bed from time to time is perfectly fine! But if you haven’t crate trained them, it’s best to keep your puppy off the big bed.
Which brings me to my next point….
Crate training will save your dog from separation anxiety
Think of how a young child reacts when they suddenly have to sleep in another room after years of sharing the bed with their parent.
Tantrum-filled goodbyes come to mind, right?
Puppies, too, develop separation anxiety when there’s a sudden shift in their nighttime routine.
Imagine if sharing the bed with you becomes your puppy’s bedtime routine for months, then you suddenly decide to make your bed a puppy-free zone. Your pup won’t take this huge change lightly. They’ll get separation anxiety and probably exhibit unwanted behaviors to express their disappointment.
But if you crate train your puppy right from the start, you’ll condition them to enjoy sleeping in the crate, away from you. Should you decide to keep your pup off your bed for good, this won’t catch them off guard because plan B — the crate — works just fine!.
Are you willing to spend more time grooming and cleaning?
If you allow your pup to sleep with you regularly, be ready to level up your cleaning skills.
Our furry pals are super active. As they run around during the day, they get dirty — and all the dirt will end up on your bed.
To avoid this, you may need to clean your pup more often than usual or change your beddings severally to keep your bed looking clean and smelling fresh.
Handy Hint: When a dog sleeps on his back it could mean a few different things.
Why shouldn’t you sleep with your puppy
Sleeping with your puppy shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence because your pup might develop separation anxiety when you suddenly choose to make your bed a puppy-free zone. Plus, a potty accident is likely to happen on your bed.
Should I let my puppy sleep with me the first night?
The short answer is no, you should not let a puppy sleep with you on the first night. You need to train your puppy to sleep in a crate right from the start. Until they are fully crate trained, resist the temptation to sleep with your pup.
Our little furry friends are the cute, so snuggling up with them every night might seem like the perfect plan. But is it?
I personally think it’s a bad idea based on what you’ve read… but don’t let me put you.
Deciding whether a puppy should sleep with you in your bed is entirely down to you… just make sure you’re prepared for the occasional mishap, and possibly not as much sleep as you normally get.