Should I let my dog sleep with me?

Do you allow your pets to sleep in your bedroom?

I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss, especially for people who have recently adopted a puppy or dog. How do you decide where the pet will sleep?

I love the idea of my pets sleeping with me, especially in the bed. But my dog and two cats are way too disruptive. Sleep is important, and with my pets in my bedroom I don’t sleep well.

Our typical routine is to put our cats in the spare bedroom at night. They bother us otherwise. My dog Ace sleeps on his dog bed in the main living area of our apartment where we can’t hear him snoring, licking himself, gagging (from licking himself!) or shaking his body and ears around.

Ace the black Lab mix on his dog bed

Dogs as protection

I like the idea of my dog being loose in our apartment at night because he does provide some amount of protection if someone were to break in. I know Ace would never actually attack or bite anyone, but at least he’s a big, black dog with a deep bark.

Kennel training

If my dog were at all destructive at night, I would have him sleep in his crate. But, he never chews things, never gets into the trash and never has accidents. Because of this, he gets to be free at night and when he’s home alone.

When we get another dog at some point, that dog will most likely sleep in a crate until we know he or she can be trusted. If we get a puppy, there is no question about it. The puppy will sleep in the crate for at least six months to form good habits.

Update: We have a puppy now, and yep, he sleeps in his crate!

Dogs in the bed, with permission

I’m not opposed to dogs sleeping in the owner’s bed at night as long as the dog is not possessive of the bed or possessive of the owner. This can be avoided by creating the simple rule that the dog is allowed on the bed only with permission such as “up!”

If the owner doesn’t want the dog on the bed, that’s OK too!

This is not about being “dominant.” It’s about setting simple rules so we can live peacefully with dogs.

And if the owner doesn’t want the dog on the bed, that’s OK too! The dog doesn’t get to decide. The human gets to decide.

There’s no way we could let Ace sleep on our bed. He is an extra gross dog who sheds and drools all the time. He always has black, “drool crust” stuck to his jowls, along with fresh drool. He would ruin our comforter and sheets in about a week if he slept on our bed. Yuck.

Because of this, we created the “no dogs on the furniture” rule from day one and it’s worked out well. Ace actually seems to prefer his dog bed because that’s his routine.

Where do your cats sleep at night?

Beamer the tan tabby catNow, our cats are another story.

Our cats are really naughty. Beamer begins meowing (howling!) to eat at about 5:15 a.m. unless he’s in his cat carrier. So, most nights we put him in his carrier, especially on weekends. He doesn’t howl in there, so that’s where he sleeps. I throw a blanket over it so he can’t tell when it’s light out, and I leave a loud fan on.

Our other cat, Scout, is usually quieter, but if he’s in our bedroom he starts sneezing (yep!) around 5:30 because he wants to eat. And if we close him out of our bedroom he cries on the other side to get in. So … he also has to be closed into the spare bedroom at night, often in his carrier as well.

Scout the gray tabby catMany dog owners put their dogs in crates every night, so I do not feel bad at all that my cats have to go in theirs. I actually get a fair amount of people who tell me they don’t sleep well at night because of their cats, and I always recommend putting the cats in another room or in their cat carriers. Why wouldn’t you?

So, that’s our routine. About once a week or so, I let Scout or Ace sleep in our bedroom and I wake up every hour to Ace licking himself or snoring or Scout stepping on me or walking around on the bed. Then, I’m reminded why they’re usually not allowed to sleep with us.

So, what do the rest of you do?

Do you let your dog or cat sleep in your bedroom?

Get That Mutt’s newsletter in your inbox:

31 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Ron Rutherford on August 12, 2014

    My two smaller dogs will often sleep in the bed, which can cause some interesting twisting and turning to accommodate. Thankfully, my big dog, Vince, prefers to stay in his own bed! I don’t mind the dog hair so much, so I also let them have free rein on the furniture.

    I do very much appreciate what you’re saying about dominance, though! It’s very important to not compete with your dog, even for space on the bed. I’ll work on that! Great thoughts, Lindsay- thanks for sharing.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 12, 2014

      I think it’s interesting to hear what other people do.

  2. Aisling on August 12, 2014

    My boyfriend is terrible for bringing Chip up to bed with him. I don’t mind the odd time, but like you, I do not get a peaceful night sleep with paws digging into my back every few minutes.

    However, she is extremely good for coming back down to her own bed when we want her too….she does mope coming down the stairs a bit but she obey’s anyway! For the first year at least, she did not sleep in our bedroom once and I think this really helped. Because now, she doesn’t expect to be brought up every night. When I am going to bed, she gives me a hopeful look and waits to see if I say come on or not! If I don’t, she just curls up in her own bed and hopes that maybe she will be lucky the next night!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 12, 2014

      Aww, so cute. Ace gives us a hopeful look too. Every now and then we bring his bed into our room for him to sleep on, but most nights we don’t. He’s just too noisy! 🙂

      And I usually let the cats cuddle with me for 10 minutes or so before I kick them out. My gray cat Scout also gives me the hopeful look and then goes limp when I try to lift him out of the bed.

  3. weliveinaflat on August 12, 2014

    like you, in the living room ^_^ I sometimes suffer from allergies and I am a light sleeper so dog in bedroom is a no. 😛

  4. Jessicavy on August 12, 2014

    This was a point of contention in our house when we got Hiccup. I didn’t want him in the bed because he had some possessiveness issues, as well as separation anxiety, but my husband did. He’d flip out and hurt himself in a crate, but he’d otherwise run circles around our bed all night. I compromised by tethering him to a desk. I figured that if the dog couldn’t cope with laying ten feet from us over night, how would he ever learn to cope with me actually leaving the house?

    I eventually caved and let my husband put him on the bed, but he soon got possessive and growled at me for trying to move him and lost all bed privileges. I also didn’t like that he insisted on sleeping between my husband and I, preventing us from cuddling. He’s improved in leaps and bounds since that time, and as of a couple weeks ago he earned back his bed rights. We’ve had no problems so far! *cross fingers*

  5. jan on August 12, 2014

    My dogs go back and forth from their beds to ours, but the cat is totally banished from the bedroom. She is nocturnal and always walked across our sleeping bodies during the night.

    “Oh, did I wake you up?”

  6. Jane Y. on August 12, 2014

    Piri stays with us on the bed but doesn’t stay for long. When one of us or both of us are out of the bed, that’s when he likes to sleep there. ha! i guess he likes his space 🙂

  7. Emma on August 12, 2014

    When Mom got Katie, there were no dogs allowed in the bedroom, so she still doesn’t sleep in the bedroom since she learned not to as a puppy. I learned to sleep in my own bed on the floor next to Mom. Bailie got to sleep in bed from the first night. She is perfect for sleeping in bed according to Mom as she snuggles and rarely wakes her up. Mom has tried putting me in bed too, but I always hop down into my own bed. The cats? They are a human’s worst nightmare. They sleep on top of Mom so she can’t move, they start meowing as early as 4am and wake us all up, but they haven’t been banned since they make so much noise if they are locked out no one can even go to sleep. Mom has a king size bed, so there is a lot of space.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 12, 2014

      I guess I should be thankful that my cats don’t make noise when they are in their kennels.

  8. Apryl on August 12, 2014

    Nami’s “house” is our bed. She spends nearly all of her time on it and attached to me or hubby all day, every day. She sleeps on the bed and is the snuggliest, most sensitive pibble ever. Allie gets on the bed to visit but sleeps in her own bed next to ours.

  9. Colby on August 12, 2014

    The guide dog puppies are never allowed on the bed or furniture, but it’s a different story with my own dogs. When I started training Linus I didn’t allow him on the bed or furniture, but when he was about one year old we let him on the bed. Now he does sometimes sleeps on the bed, but I feel like it’s more my preference as he seems to still prefer sleeping on the floor. On the other hand, Stetson loves the bed. He was originally trained as a guide dog so he was never allowed on the bed. At around 2 years old after he was career changed we let him on the bed. I mostly get good nights sleep, but once in a while I wake up curled up like a ball or shaped like an “S” because Stetson has taken over the bed in the middle of the night.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 12, 2014

      Do the dogs ever have any issues when there are different rules for different dogs?

      • Colby on August 12, 2014

        When I first started raising puppies I was worried that there would be issues with different rules for different dogs. I’m on my fifth puppy along with puppy sitting dozens of others and I haven’t had any problems with having separate rules for the guide dog puppies.

  10. Julia at Home on 129 Acres on August 12, 2014

    Baxter sleeps in his bed on our bedroom floor. For the most part he’s pretty quiet… except for when the coyotes come through the farm, but I can’t really blame him for that. He’s most comfortable in his own bed. He’s invited onto our bed occasionally, but only for morning snuggles when one of us is already up. He looks longingly at the bed and likes being invited, but he also likes his personal space too much to share the bed with both of us.

  11. Rebekah on August 13, 2014

    The thought of dogs sleeping in the bed doesn’t bother me, but mine don’t. Not enough room, and they prefer not to.

  12. Beth on August 13, 2014

    Before I was married, my dog Daisy, a spaniel mix, slept in my bed. When my husband and I moved into our first place, he made the “no dogs on the bed” rule. Daisy seemed to adapt to the new rule easily (probably because everything was new). My dogs now sleep in their crates (they aren’t trustworthy for different reasons), but I do worry if they will get out in case of a fire. On the plus side, we know exactly where to look for them if we do have a fire. The cat has free run of the downstairs at all times, but the upstairs is supposed to be a pet free zone. (I do let Theo sleep with me when my husband isn’t home, because he’s the best sleep buddy ever. However, I change the sheets and my husband either doesn’t know or doesn’t care.)

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 13, 2014

      When my husband isn’t home, all three animals sleep with me. Cats in the bed and Ace by the bed. I sleep terribly, but that’s OK just for a night or two. 🙂

  13. Dawn on August 13, 2014

    I used to let my dogs sleep with me, if they wished. Sephi never liked to sleep in bed with me. I guess I moved around too much. And so I was delighted when I got Maya and she wanted to snuggle. But things changed when I got married. It was a bit of adjustment but I actually prefer the dogs not to sleep in my bed. Why? Dog hair. Lots and lots of dog hair. Plus, Maya is a bed hog. Another benefit to not letting them sleep with us all the time is that when I do let them share the bed or furniture with me (when my honey isn’t home), it is an extra special occasion.

  14. Rachel @ My Two Pitties on August 16, 2014

    Kaya, Norman & Gina sleep on the bed with me! I do love it but I have a cal king bed which helps …though the dogs are usually snuggled up close to me and half the bed is empty anyways. And Kaya sleeps under the covers! I totally agree with you that if a dog is possessive or destructive they should be crated but I guess I’ve lucked out. Since each of their 1st night’s as little puppies, I let them in the bed and they slept through the night and well into the next morning. And it’s been that way ever since.

    I must admit though, I could not handle sleeping with a long haired dog. The thought of sharing the bed with Zoey makes me cringe. I guess because she is so sheddy and holds onto that stinky dog smell. Oh, I also cannot handle snoring. Also lucky for me that Kaya & Norman do not snore!

    Sometimes Norman stays on the couch when we go to bed but comes to my room at some point in the night. I love waking up to his white face in the morning, not knowing if he’d be there.

    Gina has another agenda. She wakes up at dawn and meows until I let her outside. About an hour later she has to come back in to eat. Then usually back out again. And maybe back in. She must have me wrapped around her little paw because I never mind her interruptions while I would pretty much murder a person if they got me up at that hour.

  15. nancyspoint on August 22, 2014

    Both of our dogs sleep in the bedroom with us. This seems to work fine, except as you know when there are thunderstorms during the summer months. And fall months. And spring months. So whenever the forecast calls for rain, our fearful one gets kenneled. I like having them in there with us. They don’t get to be on the bed though. When we’re in it anyway! And actually, I’d probably let our springer sleep out in the family room, but I’ve tried that in the past and once in a while she hears neighbors or something and starts barking pretty darn loudly, which would be a good thing if it were an intruder I guess! Our kitty gets to be free some nights and is kenneled some nights too. Bottom line is, find what works for you best so you get your sleep. Great post!

  16. Sarah at on August 24, 2014

    Rio usually sleeps wherever he wants in the house (couch), but he just started getting these privileges recently. Otherwise he was crated as a pup. Lola is allowed to sleep on the bed a few nights a week if she chooses – otherwise she usually sleeps in her crate – it’s her little cozy spot :).

  17. Kelley K on August 18, 2016

    We have (2) Pit/Boxer mix’s and they both sleep in bed with me every night. One of them “Ruby” prefers to be under the covers. The other “Addy” is about 25% on the floor (when its hot) and 75% on top of the covers with her head on one of the pillows.

  18. Amanda Anderson on November 28, 2016

    I allow my puppy to sleep with me only because she used to try to harm herself when in the crate. I’ve learned that as long as I leave the crate open,she’ll sleep in there perfectly fine. Occasionally she’ll sleep with me when she feels uncomfortable, scared or just in need of some extra cuddles

  19. Paul on November 28, 2016

    When we got Blue from the Humane Society, we actually encouraged him to sleep with us. It helped with bonding and he is such a gentle pup. When Stella came into our lives as a puppy, it was ok but she has some licking and sprawling habits when we go to bed. As she got older (and bigger) we were running out of room. At that point we put up a baby gate so they have run of the house at night except for the bedroom. We would still allow them to sleep with us on “special” occasions. At first, Stella would sit outside of the baby gate and whine, but over time she has gotten used to it.

    The main reasons for cutting down their bed times was Stella’s nighttime antics, the fact that we were washing our bed sheets every couple days because they couldn’t help but track in some dirt sometimes (Blue is a digger), and the topper was when I got Lyme Disease earlier this year. We have made some adjustments and the pups have also adjusted well. It helps that Stella is now about 2-1/2 so she’s getting to the end of her “puppy stages”. They both have acclimated well to sleeping together on the love seat or in the dog bed. And, yes, we do still have the “special” occasions sometimes. Not often, but they consider it a treat to be allowed to sleep there.

  20. Grace on November 28, 2016

    Charlie is my first dog, and he had been in two different homes within the past months before I adopted him. On Charlie’s first night with me, I put him in his crate. He whined and cried and wouldn’t be quiet. Since I live in an apartment complex, I was afraid that my neighbors would hear him. So I placed the crate on top of my bed, next to me. Of course this didn’t work either! So after about 30 minutes I let him out and he promptly lay down next to me and was quiet. He’s been on the bed ever since! As long as he stays on ‘his’ side or between his pillows, I’m fine with it!

  21. Laura on November 28, 2016

    Once our puppy was potty trained, we started letting her sleep on the floor, on a blanket, next to our bed. I take off her collar so her shaking doesn’t wake us up. After my husband leaves for work, early in the morning, I pick her up and snuggle in bed with her. She rarely bothers me or wakes me up. It’s wonderful bonding time. She doesn’t beg for it, but she loves it!

  22. Scott on November 29, 2016

    Honestly it is one of the great pleasures at the end of the day to cuddle up with one or both of my dogs – Shian who is going blind – he cannot see at all except in bright light – so he wants to be by his human daddy until the light returns – Tohee my fur-girl is just a cuddle monkey but likes to sleep on her own bed – I guess we all need a break from training – and when lights go off – the dogs can sleep on my bed or choose the floor or the sofas – sweet furry dreams….