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Should you let your Yorkie sleep with you?

Do you let your Yorkie sleep in your bed with you at night? Research has shown that slightly less than one-half of all pet owners share their bed or bedroom with their pet. Even so, you have likely been told by at least one well-meaning person that your dog should sleep on the floor, in his crate, or in his own bed. However, according to recent research, there are many benefits to co-sleeping with your dog, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
The journal Human Nature recently published a study by Smith et al. entitled “A Multispecies Approach to Co-Sleeping: Integrating Human-Animal Co-Sleeping Practices into Our Understanding of Human Sleep.” The researchers looked at the practice of allowing a dog to sleep in the bed or bedroom, comparing it with adult-child co-sleeping.
The study pointed out that sleeping in the same bed or bedroom as our pets are not just a modern phenomenon. In fact, some traditional cultures considered co-sleeping with animals as beneficial. For example, Aboriginal Australians often slept beside their dogs and/or dingoes for warmth and protection from evil spirits. Unfortunately, modern culture tends to focus on the negative aspects of co-sleeping rather than the benefits.
It’s true there are some health concerns related to co-sleeping with your dog. Human allergies can be aggravated, for example. There is also the risk of transmission of disease, from both the dog to the human and the human to the dog. However, such transmission is rare.
Quality of sleep can also be affected. Previous studies have shown that owners sharing a bed with their pet report greater sleep disturbances than people whose pets did not sleep in their bed. One factor that may explain this difference is that dogs are polyphasic sleepers and average three sleep/wake cycles per nighttime hour, whereas humans are monophasic sleepers (one period of sleep over a 24-hour cycle). Dogs also stay alert for sounds, even when sleeping, which may make them lighter sleepers than their humans.
The research study concluded that even though society may not currently regard co-sleeping in the best light, because of the many benefits, there is no need for unnecessary concern. I think those of us who share our beds and bedrooms with our dogs already know that any disturbance or inconvenience is well worth the nighttime of snuggles. If you want to have your own Yorkie, you can click here for more information.