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Sleeping with dogs

03-06-2010

Dogs are pack animals naturally suited to sleeping in groups and most pampered domestic pooches are the epitome of canine cleanliness, however in practice they can prove to disturbing to people when sharing a bed.

A 2002 study at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Centre found that sleeping with dogs and cats was one of the primary reasons behind poor quality sleep in a group of patients. Key findings included that more than half (53%) of those who let their pets sleep in the bed considered their sleep to be disrupted to some extent every single night, and that 21% of dogs snored.

“I suspect that the degree of sleep disruption experienced may be significantly greater than the owners admit,” said Dr. John Shepard. “Every patient has to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with pets and make a personal decision about the sleeping arrangements in the household. Some people are very attached to their pets and will tolerate poorer sleep in order to be near to them at night.”

However it happens, whether it’s caused by a snoring hound or other factors, having regularly disturbed sleep can lead to a whole host of problems – ranging from irritability, poor productivity and tiredness throughout the day to more serious long term health issues.

Even though they’re instinctively attuned to living and sleeping in groups, dogs thrive on having their own ‘area’ where they know they’ll be undisturbed – this is typically their own basket or bed, kept in a regular place that they become comfortable with.

So even if your dog seems like the ideal bedfellow it might be in both of your best interests to make a break and sleep apart.

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