Vets Weigh In On Whether Or Not It's OK To Sleep With Your Dog

Factors you should consider about sleeping with your pet.

Last updated on Aug 10, 2023

happy couple in love at home with their dog eva_blanco / Shutterstock

When it comes to sharing the bed, sometimes pets can get in the way of couples. Jill and Ray have been dating for five years, and Ray’s spent many a night pouting about having to sleep with Jill’s cat Mona. His problem? Too much cat hair in the bed for one, she says.

“Ray also says Mona gets more affection than he does. But of course, that’s not true,” she said.

Fortunately for Jill and Ray, the problem is not bad enough to end their relationship. But for others with cats and dogs, it can be.


“Dogs are so important to their owners that they can make or break a relationship,” said Gail Miller, former spokesperson for the American Kennel Club (AKC).

She and others agree that power struggles and love triangles can develop when people who are used to sleeping with their dogs bring somebody new into the picture. A survey conducted by AKC found that approximately 45% of dog owners do, while other reports say up to 72% of dog owners allow Fido in the bed. But is that a problem?

“Many lovers’ spats and break-ups originate with the hurt feelings of a dog denied its usual sleeping place,” said John Rappaport, VDM, in Boca Raton, FL. All of this begs the question:


Is it OK to sleep with your dog or cat?

There are different schools of thought regarding whether or not it’s good for people to sleep with their pets.

Some vets say it's a bad idea to sleep with your dog.

For one, it can disrupt sleep. According to The Mayo Clinic for Sleep Medicine in Arizona, 20% of their patients with pets say their animals wake them during the night.

RELATED: Dogs Are Basically Humans, Says Best Study Ever


Also, there’s a good chance that if you’re dating someone with a dog, in particular, you’ll wind up sharing some sleep time with them. That’s because dogs sleep about 12 hours a day.

And while sleeping with a cat is based purely on individual preference, some vets believe sleeping with a dog isn’t always the best idea.

“If a dominant and controlling dog doesn’t like the way somebody turns or moves in bed, it could injure them,” said Susan Krebsbach, DVM, a veterinary animal behavior consultant in Lake Mills, WI. “As long as you know [the] dog doesn’t have any of these issues, sleeping with it is perfectly OK.”

Other experts believe sleeping with a dog might actually be good for you.

In fact,, research has shown that spending time with a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce minor health problems and improve psychological well-being.


RELATED: The Main Personality Difference Between Dog People And Cat People

If you’re OK with sharing your pillow, Krebsbach recommends preparing for sleep by using a three-pronged approach that involves:

  • Playtime, such as engaging in hide and seek or fetch
  • Exercise, such as walking your dog, taking it to the beach, or playing Frisbee
  • Feeding

The last thing you want to do is change things up suddenly if the dog or cat in question is used to sleeping in the bed. It’s your job to accept that there will be a period of transition and make the concessions at first.

“Don’t boot it off,” Krebsbach said. “Instead, be patient. Keep creating positive associations and, in time, everybody will adjust to the new arrangement.”


“Even if we push Mona off the bed at night, she jumps back on once we’re asleep,” Jill said.

And Ray, she says, just hates that.

Oh, well.


RELATED: Your Dog Can Actually Sniff Out The Toxic People In Your Life, According To Research

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