If You Lie Down With Dogs . . .

I grew up in a house where the dogs slept in the bed with my folks, period.  There was never any discussion about it.  I didn’t even know there were other options until I was older.  When I found out there were people with dogs who DIDN’T have them sleep in bed with them, I wondered what was wrong with those people.  Why have a dog if it didn’t sleep with you? That’s like, eight hours of “dog-time” down the drain.  What a waste.  Weirdos.

Lots of people allow their dog to sleep in the bed

Fortunately, my mind expanded a bit as I got older, and I began to understand why people might not want to share their beds with their canines. Dogs aren’t always the cleanest of animals, and if you think mom screeches when Mr. Puppy-head gets mud on the floor, you should HEAR the noise she makes when he gets it all over the bed.  Plus, even if they are clean and pristine, most dogs shed.

Dogs aren't always the cleanest of animals

As I got even older (considering I’m only on the cusp of 30 here, imagine what wonders I’ll know by the time I’m 60), I learned about even more reasons to not have the pets in the bed–potentially disgusting reasons.  I mean, animals don’t have access to soap and little bidets and they LOVE to get into bacterially disgusting things–dead things even–and, well, you get the idea.

Let us not even SPEAK of the child safety course I went to when I was pregnant.  That class’s response to the subject was, “If the baby is going to be on it EVER, then the pets can be on it NEVER.”  I’m pretty sure the lady who ran that class would have happily told everyone to just get rid of their pets if she thought she could have gotten away with it.

Yet  I constantly read articles about how good having pets can be for us and for our kids, and I just shake my head.  What’s a dog-owner to do?

How can you protect yourself from dog germs?

When I first got Loki, she slept in a crate with old towels.  Puppies are cute little furballs with lots of teeth, a hardcore desire for destruction, and untrained bladders, so you can bet that’s where she slept.

Puppies can be destructive

As Loki got older, I thought not letting her sleep in the bed was the “right” thing to do.  I got her a cushy little doggy bed, put it where her crate used to be (she never really took to the crate like I’ve seen other dogs do), and let her snooze on that.

And then my husband went out of town and I got lonely.  And that “right” idea I got from goodness only knows where fell out of my brain . . . until he got back.  But it was too late then.  Expecting to sleep on the bed, Loki would come over to my side of the bed and chuff and bounce at me.  AND SHE WAS REALLY CUTE AND I’M A TOTAL SAP.

Aaaaaaaand then I got pregnant and went to the “pets will kill your baby and probably you too” class.

So when the baby was, well, a BABY, I did keep the dogs off the bed and away from the co-sleeper.  (I could just SEE Loki crawling in there, because she is that kind of dog who declares all comfy containers as hers, regardless of the tiny human who may or may not currently be sleeping in said container–and that is 30+ pounds of corgi we’re talking about.)

Dogs don't understand boundaries when it comes to where they sleep

But the baby got older and moved to his crib.  And my husband went out of town again.  And Loki had apparently not forgotten how to bounce and chuff in an adorable fashion.  AND I’M EVEN MORE OF A SAP SINCE I HAD A KID.

After agonizing for at least a week over my failure of allowing the corgi back in the bed, I talked to my dog-trainer friend.  Do you know what she told me?  “My dogs sleep in bed with me.  Heck, one of them likes to sleep practically on my head.  It’s fine; what’s your problem?”

So Loki sleeps on the bed, and I stopped worrying.

Disclaimer: Do I think poorly of you and your pet-owner skills if you don’t let your dog sleep on your bed? No.  Do I think letting a pet sleep in bed with you is the super, best, 100% awesomest  thing to do ever? No.  Do I do what’s best for me and mine and expect you to do the same? BINGO.

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  1. My Yorkie sleeps with us and has since she was young. She gets routinely bathed and both my wife and I enjoy having her with us. She is such a sweet and loving dog you just can’t tell her no and we wouldn’t anyone. She travels with us where evey we go as well. She is like a child to us.

  2. I totally understand the (children) the pets become. My Senorita Rosita Conchita (Chihuahua) is my daughter with fur. 🙂 Darling Husband and I make her homemade treats and even make her dog food with totally natural/organic ingredients. We have two homes a winter home in TX and a cabin in the summer in the North Woods of Minnesota. Our baby girl loves to travel too,,,she loves being in both places. She loves the TEXAS sun in the winter and loves the cool summers in Minnesota. She also enjoys going fishing with us on our pontoon boat. Senorita Rosita Conchita was litter box trained as a tiny puppy, she will also go outside, she has a litter box inside and also on the pontoon. She is a bedtime snuggler… rooting under the sheets and covers till she’s discovered the perfect spot for the night. I often wonder how she can breathe under there all night.. 🙂 Our babies are remarkable creatures, indeed a gift from God !!! We just bought her a beautiful set of stairs made of wood for the bed and other areas that she’s getting a little fragile doing anymore, she’s (9). Bless you and your little sweetie.

  3. I understand all the cons of dogs sleeping in your bed. ….so you have to clean a little more. Our pets will be with us only a short time…I want them to know love and comfort for as much of that short life as I can give….so YES–my dog will sleep in my bed.

  4. We have one of our small loves sleep with us. One chooses to sleep in her own bed. They are both quite pampered and we love it that way, probably as much as they do. They love their homemade dog food (with added supplements of course!) as well as daily treats. We would be lost without our built in, loving bed warmer each night. But keeping them clean is so very important and do diligence for pests is vital. Not to mention a washable comforter. 😉

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Thanksk for sharing. They sound very loved. Michael Dym, VMD http://www.doctordym.com

  6. We have three dogs and all three of them sleep in the bed with my husband and myself.They each have their favorate
    spot to lay down on and the five ofus are cozy all night long.
    We couldn’t sleep without Shana,Gizmo and Peanut.

  7. i have a wonderful wennie dog named Barney.. iam a senior, and i love him like a human.ive had him since he was a puppy. hes now 6.he has not missed a night in bed with me.i keep him clean and smelling good.i love him and he loves me.wouldnt take a serious million dollars for him.i am serous, he is my all

  8. Old article I realize but…
    Tell the baby lady, yeah would not want the kid to crawl around on all fours where the dog does. Geesh, what a fool, because the people come in off the street with the very same items on their shoes and animals have on their paws, only human shoes carry in much much more of it.
    As far as germs go, they are everywhere…I mean everywhere and there is no escape. Embrace what will make you stronger immune wise, and that is being exposed to all kinds of dirt grime and germs as a child and youth. Not to mention the companionship and responsibility of care by and for a pet.
    And I guarantee, dogs have less poo on their anus than most humans at any given time.

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