While many dog owners assume that their dogs should sleep with them, on the floor or on a sofa, most veterinarians, certified trainers and behavior specialists recommend use of a high quality dog bed.
When puppies are first being house trained, a separate bed, ideally waterproof, mold proof and antibacterial should be used. Home furnishings could be damaged and risk of disease to family members is high. Most human furniture is too high for puppies and joint, muscle and ligament stress/injury could occur if young dogs are forced to jump onto and off of high places. It is stressful and sometimes difficult for dogs to adjust in later life to new sleeping arrangements. A puppy will get accustomed to sleeping with the owner in their bed, then when they get to full size, the owner often wants to change sleeping arrangements. If you know that in several years you would not want your dog in your same bed, it is best not to start.
While in movies it may look very sweet for children and dogs to sleep together, the fact is that many cases of children getting bitten comes from dogs getting startled at night or children moving while asleep and the dog responding, thinking he needs to protect himself. Dogs’ noses and feet particularly are sources of bacteria that can lead to sickness. Dander and dog hair also pose hygienic issues for children and adults.
The range of orthopedic beds and heated pads available today have come a long way from having Rover sleep in a carton with a pillow. Older dogs and dogs that have joint issues will benefit greatly from memory foam, orthopedic beds and heated pads. Round or bagel beds are great for dogs that need to circle before sleeping. Outdoor beds are good for people that live in warm climates and want to keep their dog safe and secure outside. Many of these beds are waterproof and can be easily cleaned with a water hose. Bolster dog beds have a secure back that helps dogs that need support and a feeling of security in order to sleep properly.
Dogs are known as “Man’s Best Friend” for a good reason. They are one of the most social (animal/human) creatures and tales of their loyalty and obedience are legendary. However, just like humans, dogs at times need to be alone for their own well-being. Having a designated dog bed, away from human noise, movement and interaction provides the animal with a space they can rest and self-play. Dogs are naturally social, but, like man, they also have moments when they just want to be left alone. Studies have shown that a dog that does not have a space to go to may eventually show signs of irritability, loss of appetite and energy.
The benefits of having a dog bed are many, while having your dog sleep with you may provide immediate satisfaction, it is important for owners to take multiple factors into account and do what is best not just for themselves, but the dog and entire household.