Good or bad idea ?

Many owners say they sleep with their dog when many others are totally against it. Between received ideas and subjective positions, contradictory opinions do not help to form a clear opinion. However, one thing is certain, it is above all a personal choice. But is sleeping with your dog a good idea or a bad idea?

On the side of scientists

Let us shorten the suspense right away. Most of the studies that have looked at the subject have come to a conclusion. Sleeping with your dog is a good idea when it is freely chosen by the master and accepted by the dog. And when certain conditions are met, it would even allow better sleep, reduce stress, anxiety and fear and significantly increase the feeling of security.

Effects on sleep

Scientists regularly conduct studies on the psychological and physiological effects induced by the relationship between humans and dogs.

A study, conducted in 2018 by two American researchers from Canisius University, compared the quality of sleep and the feeling of security felt by 962 women who slept either with a human (57%) or with a cat. (31%) or with a dog (55%). The results shed light on less disturbed sleep and a sense of security more significantly increased by the presence of the dog than by that of the cat, or the human!

In 2015, the American Mayo Clinic, interviewed 150 people who claimed to sleep with their dogs. More than 40% of them indicated that they had noticed positive effects on their sleep, compared to 20% who reported that their sleep was disturbed by the presence of the dog.

This same study also sheds light on the importance of the dog’s place in the bedroom. The disturbances were most noticeable when the dog slept in the bed and the benefits were noticed when sleeping in the same room, but out of bed.

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) has long demonstrated the value of sleeping with your dog in some pathological sleep disorders.

Effects on stress

Still on the side of studies, in 2015, scientists analyzed the physiological reactions of dogs and their owners, during a petting session. And the results are amazing!

Indeed, a short interaction (3 minutes of caresses) made it possible to measure a significant drop in cardiac frequency and the rate of cortisol (the stress hormone) and an increase in oxytocin (the love hormone) in humans. And on the side of the dog, the benefits were also there.

On the side of dog trainers

The point of view of dog trainers on the issue is mixed. Depending on whether they practice positive education or traditional education, opinions differ.

For positive education

In general, those who practice benevolent education (positive), do not particularly object to sharing his room, or his bed, with his dog. Provided that this is done at your initiative and have the dog obey if you ask him to get off the bed.

Of course, hygiene issues are mentioned, but they are not put forward as a factor blocking this practice which would have the advantage of strengthening ties.

The question of consistency in education of the dog is also important. Indeed, we can easily see that if we have always forbidden our dog to get on the bed, wanting him to sleep with us from one day to the next can generate incomprehension. And conversely, if he has always slept with us, suddenly forbidding him to do so, will necessarily be badly lived.

For traditional education

On the side of “traditional” educators, although attitudes are changing, they are generally unfavorable. And the question of man / dog domination, which is the basis of this method of education, is the reason that comes up most often to justify this negative opinion.

Sleeping with your dog would create the risk that the latter will take your place as dominant and end up dominate you totally.

However, it is now established that there is no inter-species domination (between two different species) and that if it does indeed exist intra-species (between individuals of the same species), it is fluctuating and varies. depending on the situation. The dog dominated in one situation may be dominant in another.

From a practical point of view

If the beneficial effects seem to tip the scales heavily in favor of sleeping with your dog, from a practical point of view and in particular on the side of hygiene, it is not necessarily the same.

Hygiene

Critics of this practice highlight the unhygienic aspect of sleeping with your dog. Hair, fleas, ticks, ringworms, would potentially end up in bed, and for the stupid ones, they would thus be more easily transmitted to humans.

Diseases

Beyond the purely hygienic aspect, it is also necessary to be aware that some diseases that can affect dogs, are also transmissible to humans. This is called zoonosis and in the register of these pathologies, we find, among others:

  • Lyme disease;
  • La leptospirosis;
  • Brucellosis;
  • Leishmaniasis;
  • Ringworm ;
  • The gale …

People who are immunocompromised and allergic can therefore be penalized by sleeping with a dog.

Precautions to be taken

If you decide to sleep with your dog or already do, and especially if he sleeps with you on the bed, here are some practical advice to avoid the inconveniences:

  • Brush the dog frequently to remove dead hair;
  • Inspect it thoroughly beforehand to spot and eliminate ticks and parasites.
  • Make sure of his state of health, deworm him and think about his vaccines;
  • Don’t make him sleep with you under the sheets;
  • Provide a bedspread or special blanket;
  • Wash sheets and blankets often;
  • Aerate daily and vacuum the floors regularly.

And finally, with or without your dog, have a great night’s sleep!

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