The average adult dog sleeps for about 12 to 14 hours per day. This means that knowing where should dogs sleep at night and getting them the most comfortable spot is of the utmost importance to assure they have quality rest.
Where dogs sleep can be a source of disagreement between all of the members of the household. Some dog owners would rather their pooch snuggle up with them in their beds while others say dogs should have their own bed to prevent unwanted behaviors.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) conducted a survey to find out what were the most common options for dogs to sleep in and found out that:
- 45% of dog owners let their dogs sleep in bed with them;
- 20% of dog owners train their dogs to sleep in crates;
- 17% of dog owners say their dogs sleep in their own bed;
- 4% of dog owners use an outdoor shelter for their dogs to sleep in;
- 14% of dog owners gave a vague “various places indoors” answer.
When deciding which option is the best for your dog, there’s no straight answer. All dogs are different from each other. While some may feel safer sleeping next to their humans, others might prefer sleeping in their own bed in the living room. The best location for your dog to sleep depends on the dog’s age, lifestyle, and unique personality. Let’s review some of the most common sleeping options for dogs.
1. In their owner’s bed
Letting dogs sleep in their bed seems like the most popular option amongst dog owners. And it’s easy to understand why. There are many benefits of letting your dog sleep with you. It’s a great bonding opportunity and can help both dogs and humans relax so they can enjoy a deeper sleep.
However, there are some downsides to this option and you should only consider it if:
- Your dog is a housebroken adult;
- Your dog doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety;
- Your dog is easy to remove from its sleeping spot;
- Your dog can safely jump on and off the bed or you have some form of steps that can help;
- Your dog doesn’t disturb you in your sleep;
- You don’t have allergies.
One important thing to note about this option is that allowing your dog to sleep in the same bed hasn’t been proven to cause separation anxiety. However, if your dog already struggles with this, sleeping in the same bed can make it worse. If you’ve checked all the items in the list above and you’re OK with having more hair in your bed than usual, there’s no harm in cuddling up with your dog at night.
2. In a crate
A dog crate can be an extremely useful tool and a great spot for your dog to sleep in. However, this is only true and you should only consider this option if your dog has been properly crate trained. You should not consider this option until then.
If you use a crate before training your dog for it, keeping your dog locked up in the crate will only make it anxious and cause behavioral problems. When crate training, the goal is to teach dogs to see the crate as their safe refuge and a place they go to relax. It’s easy to see why crates can be a great spot for your dog to sleep in. All you need is to make it a bit extra comfortable by adding a blanket or two.
Using a crate is a great option for dog owners that worry about their dogs going around the house or before their fully housebroken since dogs always want to keep their sleeping areas clean. After your dog is fully crate trained and housebroken, you don’t even need to shut the door anymore.
3. In a dog bed
Dogs can also have their own beds.Dog beds come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. From fancy designs to a folded-up blanket on the floor, the most important thing is that you find out what works best for your dog.
Regardless of what you choose as a dog bed, dogs do enjoy having a place they can use as their own spot where they can comfortably lay down for a nap. An advantage of using a dog bed is that having a movable, physical object that becomes familiar for dogs, can make moving, vacations, or simply changing rooms a lot easier on them. Some dogs become so attached to their beds that they sleep on them, no matter what.
Letting your dog sleep outdoors should only be an option if the weather conditions aren’t extreme and your dog has a proper house that can keep it safe. That’s because, although some dog breeds are prepared to manage extreme heat or cold, none of them are prepared to endure these conditions for extended periods of time.
This is especially true when it comes to older or sick dogs and brachycephalic breeds such as pugs or french bulldogs that are particularly vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Besides weather conditions, there are other hazards outdoors that can threaten your dog’s health such as dangerous plants, yard maintenance chemicals, and even nocturnal wildlife.
Because of all this, letting your dog sleep outdoors should not be an option unless you can’t keep it indoors and you can provide your dog with everything it needs to be safe.
Making sense of it all
As mentioned earlier, there’s no right answer when it comes to finding out what the best sleeping spot is for your dog. It will depend on its age, lifestyle, and personality. Basically, what fits you and your dog, is the right way to go and the decision is ultimately up to you.
The main points that you should consider when making this decision are:
- If your dog isn’t housebroken yet and tends to get in trouble at night, a crate might be the best option;
- If your dog disturbs you during your sleep or suffers from separation anxiety, it’s best to keep it out of your bed;
- Always avoid leaving your dog outdoors overnight unless you have everything prepared for it;
- If there’s nothing against it, you can allow your dog to sleep with you if it so wants.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try different options to figure out what feels best and most comfortable to you. The decision you make today doesn’t need to be final and you can also allow your dog to choose each night where it prefers to sleep.