Original Question: I just read your article: Everything You Need to Know About How Dog’s Sleep. There is one more thing I want to know about sleep. Ruby loves to sleep under the covers near the bottom of the bed. She places herself there without any encouragement. Of course, now this is a usual part of the bedtime routine. I have been told that Chihuahua’s do this. Is this okay? Thanks. - Michelle
So to start with, about half of all dog owners let their dog’s sleep on their beds. So you are definitely not alone in allowing this and it actually may help you feel safe, it might help you feel a little bit more cozy as well as reduce any anxiety that you might be feeling. It has also definitely been shown that it does lead to a more disturbed sleep and certainly from our point of view, chronic sleep deprivation can have significant health consequences depending on how you’re managing your dog the rest of the time. If they’re spending every last minute with you, then that can actually potentially lead to separation anxiety. Sleeping in the bed is pretty unlikely to be the only cause of this, but like I say, if your dog is spending every minute of the day with you and every minute of the night as well, then that can result in that separation anxiety because they’re just not used to you leaving, they’re not used to being left alone, they don’t know how to entertain themselves, how to amuse themselves and so that’s something to consider. If your dog is just sleeping in your bed with you, but in the day you’re off at work and they’re used to being left in the house by themselves and you’re giving them chew toys, you’re giving them food puzzles, that kind of thing, then it’s unlikely to cause any behavioural problems from your dog’s point of view.
The last comment really is just that for small dogs and certainly a little Chihuahua, you want to be careful that you don’t roll over and crush them. That might sound a little bit far fetched, but it’s certainly possible if they’re sleeping right next to you and you’re a heavy sleeper, you could roll on top of them and that could cause them some serious issues and also potentially be fatal. The chances of that happening are pretty remote, but it’s just something to consider, especially if you’ve got a really small breed or a toy breed dog who is sleeping in your bed.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Alex Avery