Where should your dog sleep? How much should your dog sleep? What are the benefits or downsides of co-sleeping with your dog? We have put our minds to answering all things dog-sleep related, so read on to find out the answers to all your questions! Maybe not ALL your questions. But some, at least!
How much sleep does your dog need?
Like humans, dogs vary in their need for sleep. Most dogs will sleep an average of 12 to 14 hours. But breed, age and health can play a factor. Bear in mind that puppies may sleep up to 20 hours per day and elderly dogs equally need more rest towards the end of their lives.
The Big Co-Sleep Debate
Just like the debate about children co-sleeping with parents, there is disagreement in the dog-care world about dogs co-sleeping with owners (though perhaps there aren’t QUITE as many books written about it?!)
On one side of the debate are those who think that sleeping with your dog can result in a bad night’s sleep. This will certainly be the case if you are single-bed dwelling owner of a Great Dane, but there are other matters to bear in mind when considering sleeping with your pup. Here are some factors that should certainly make you think twice about snuggling under the duvet with your dog at night time:
- If they aren’t housetrained – no one wants to deal with THAT at 3am
- If you have severe allergies – this wouldn’t be fun
- If you are a light sleeper – waking every time the dog twitches would make for a very broken night’s sleep
- If you have a new dog – puppies/new arrivals should always sleep in their own beds
- If you or your dog have health issues – best to have clear boundaries when anyone’s health is involved.
However, there are numerous other studies that point out the many benefits of letting your dog sleep in the bed with you. Here are just a few of the mental and physical benefits:
- Helps counter insomnia – sleeping with a dog can mitigate anxiety
- Maximised comfort and reassurance – studies show that sleeping with a dog can diminish nightmares in patients with PTSD
- Decreased loneliness – sleeping with a pet provides companionship
- Reduced depression – contact with a dog increases levels of oxytocin
- Strengthened bond with your pet – sleeping together helps with socialising your dog and can support training
- Reduced allergies in later life – studies have shown that infants who slept with their pet may be less prone to allergies in later life.
It is important to remember though, that – just like with children – co-sleeping is not for everyone. It is best to stick with what you are comfortable with, and rest assured that that, in itself, is reason enough to stick to your guns!
Not going to lie, my bed is broken
If you are in the camp that doesn’t like pillow-talk with your pooch, you might be wondering what your options are on the dog-bed front. Fear not! CPHQ are here to help. Here’s what our research shows!
There are so many designs on the market. Remember the primary factor, however, you don’t just want a bed to look good – you need one that is really comfy. It needs to offer support and also, crucially be built to last.
The bed for your dog should be big enough for it to move around in unrestricted and easily. It is probably best to go for a larger size if you are in doubt. Dogs do move around in their sleep like their human owners. Make sure that the important two zones of hips and shoulders are supported by your dog bed. There are handy online size guides for finding the best sized bed for your hound.
A non-slip cover is probably best, but make sure that it is durable so that it doesn’t need constant replacing.
Waterproof layers tend to cost extra but are worth considering if your dog regularly gets wet and muddy. They’re also a smart investment for old, incontinent dogs, or bitches in season.
Fill me up, buttercup!
The dog bed filler should definitely provide both insulation and joint support. Avoid any beds where you can press down and feel the floor, or any beds that are super light. On the other hand, beds that are overstuffed and have no movement in them at all will hamper the dog’s natural nesting instincts and not be comfortable for the hound. Think of the Goldilocks test. It is baby bear bed that you are aiming for.
Fur-ther Factors – what else do I need to think about?
For sure washability is key – obviously. The best beds are those you can chuck into the washing machine in one go. Failing that, one with an easily removable (and put -back-on-able) cover that can be machine washed. Here at CPHQ we like beds or covers that can be washed in a hot wash so that we can ensure that they come up clean (for all of the five minutes that they stay clean…)
And then there’s the look of the thing. If you are considering your next Ideal Homes photoshoot, you will need to factor colour and style to match the sofa/soft furnishings. No point having a mega dog bed that ticks all the boxes that looks as ugly as hell. So much to think about! Perhaps co-sleeping is the best option after all….
All this research and talk of sleep has made us tired. Off for a nap.