The idea of cosying up to your pooch in the night may sound adorable, but what effect does this have on your sleep? With around 34% of UK households owning at least one dog, the pet insurance team at Comparethemarket conducted a survey2 to reveal how co-sleeping with a pooch can impact sleep and other areas of our lives as well.
Of the dog owners they spoke to, over half (51%) said that they share a bed with their dog every night of the week. However, it seems as though this isn’t for their benefit with 31% saying that they get a better night’s sleep when they don’t share the bed.
In fact, the research reveals that the average dog owner surveyed loses up to 135 hours of sleep a year due to being disturbed through the night by their co-sleeping pup. So, why might owners still sleep with their pets in bed?
Three in 10 (30%) told us that they feel like they have to co-sleep with their dog as they won’t fall asleep elsewhere, while another one in 10 (10%) said they let their pup into the bed when they’re feeling sad or down.
For some, co-sleeping with their dog has had an impact on their personal life with over one in 10 of the owners surveyed (12%) saying that their intimate relationships had been affected. Meanwhile, another one in 10 (12%) have had an argument with their partner on whether the dog should be allowed to share a bed with them.
5 UK cities losing the most sleep
Average amount of sleep lost each year
According to the research, respondents in Cardiff lose the most sleep due to their dog, being disturbed an average of 285 hours each year. Birmingham is not far behind at 247 hours. Meanwhile, those in Coventry, Sheffield, and Wrexham lose between 200 and 210 hours – 65 hours more than the overall UK average.
Comparethemarket worked with dog behaviour and training specialist, Sue Ketland to provide some considerations for dog owners who are thinking about sharing their bed with their pooch:
- Comfort and companionship. Snuggling with your furry friend can provide a soothing sense of warmth and comfort for both parties, which in turn helps to create a strong bond with your dog.
- Security. We generally feel more vulnerable when we sleep and so if you live alone or your partner is away, you may gain an added sense of security by having your dog sleep on your bed.
- Sleep disturbances. Dogs are notorious for snoring and moving around at night. If you are a light sleeper or have trouble falling asleep, sharing a bed with your dog may not be the best choice for you.
- Allergies. If you or someone in your household has allergies, sleeping with your dog may make symptoms worse. Whether it’s pollen or dust, dogs can carry all sorts of allergens on their fur and subsequently onto your bed.
Ultimately the decision to allow your dog to sleep on your bed comes down to personal preference. Some people find it comforting, while others prefer to keep their bed a pet-free zone.
Commenting on the research, Anna McEntee, pet insurance expert at Comparethemarket said: “It is so easy to give in to those puppy dog eyes and let your dog cuddle up to you in bed each night, however, it is super important to consider the knock-on effects of this. Owners should think about their boundaries and how a co-sleeping pup might fit into this. Once your dog is in the habit, it will be hard to retrain this behaviour.
Time apart from your pet can be beneficial to prevent separation anxiety and any unwanted behaviours related to this. If you choose to avoid co-sleeping, you could look into crate training your dog instead.