Should your dog sleep in bed with you? It’s a contentious question. Even a small dog can take up a lot of bed space, and some trainers will say that having your dog sleep in a crate or in their own bed sets an important boundary that helps their behaviour. But on the other hand: the snuggles.
Photo: Jaime Green
My dog usually sleeps in a crate, but when he does sleep in bed, he loves to do so fully under the covers. It’s incredibly cute, but nighttime is perfect for irrational worries and mine became: What if he suffocates? (A quick spin through Google indicates that I am far from the only dog owner who’s stressed themselves out about this.)
I asked veterinarian and author Emma Milne if I needed to worry about this. She said:
I don’t think it is a problem at all. If a dog went under the covers and the covers were too restrictive the dog would move or even struggle to get out. It would be clear that the dog was uncomfortable. It’s incredibly unlikely that a dog could get suffocated. The only exception would be very small dogs with heavy sleeping owners or young puppies that were not strong enough to get out if they got trapped.
I was relieved, but also couldn’t help thinking about my sleeping dog like a drunk person who might not know he was in trouble until it was too late. Dr. Mile assured me, “As soon as an animal feels restrained or restricted at all they panic. It’s one reason we try to encourage people not to hug dogs. They hate it. So yes they would move immediately.”
And it’s true, my dog does hate hugs! But he loves sleeping under the covers, so we’re all set.