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Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You

Ever wondered … "Why is my dog sleeping in bed with me when she has her OWN bed?" We look at the reasons why your bed is better.
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It’s the dilemma of the modern day dog lover: You finally find that totally washable, ultra-comfortable dog bed that manages to match both your decor and budget. You test the memory foam yourself, curling up like a dog in front of bemused pet store employees. You bring your purchase home and present it to your pooch, hoping she’ll love it. Instead, she takes one sniff before bounding up onto the only bed she’ll ever love — yours. So, why is your dog sleeping in bed with you even though there are other comfy options available?

There’s plenty of reasons why dogs can’t resist the big bed. Maybe if we understand them we’ll have a better chance of getting them out of it.

1. They’re lonely

Here’s a simple answer to the questions, “Why is my dog sleeping in bed with me?” and “Why is my dog sleeping on me?” Dogs are like ex-boyfriends: They don’t like to sleep alone and, if you let them in your bed once, they want to get in there every night. They both make a whimpering sound when you tell them to sleep in their own bed.

Sometimes a dog just wants a cuddle buddy to stay warm. Photography ©molka | Getty Images.
Sometimes a dog just wants a cuddle buddy to stay warm. Photography ©molka | Getty Images.

2. Dogs get cold sometimes

A nice duvet and a human-shaped space heater make the big bed seem a lot cozier than the dog bed that offers nothing more than their own body heat. Why shiver by your lonesome when you can warm your cold nose on a human’s warm feet?

3. The big bed smells good

There’s a reason why there are scented candles that smell like freshly laundered sheets — it’s an amazing scent. That scent (well, preserving it) is why many humans buy their dog their own bed, but it’s also the reason why our dogs are drawn to ours.

4. The big bed smells like THEM!

Another answer to, “Why is my dog sleeping in bed with me?” Our beds smell better than theirs, but, unfortunately, that’s only true if they sleep in theirs. They may start sleeping in our bed because it smells better than theirs, but they stay because, eventually, it smells like it’s theirs.

Bigger space might be the reason why your dog is sleeping in bed with you. Photography ©grki | Getty Images.
Bigger space might be the reason why your dog is sleeping in bed with you. Photography ©grki | Getty Images.

Related: Tips for Cleaning Dog Beds

5. Dogs love to stretch out

Many dog beds are designed with circle sleepers in mind, but if your dog doesn’t like to form a doggie doughnut when she beds down for the evening, a circular bed just isn’t going to do. The human mattress offers plenty of rectangular real estate for long, large-breed limbs to stretch out — the only drawback is the humans are often in the way!

6. They feel left out

Humans have different classifications of love — parental love, platonic love, romantic love. Dogs just love. That’s why they don’t really understand that some of the nocturnal cuddles that happen in the human bed are not for them. Nothing kills the mood like a canine à trois, so sometimes it’s better just to lock the door.

What's mine is yours, right? Photography ©Nynke van Holten | Getty Images.
What’s mine is yours, right? Photography ©Nynke van Holten | Getty Images.

7. Dogs are entitled

Another easy way to answer,”Why is my dog sleeping on me?” Well, we call them Prince or Princess and then we expect them to sleep on the floor? Royalty will not be demoted, human.

8. Your sheets feel good

Most dog bed covers are made for washability, not luxury, and yet many dogs somehow recognize good quality linens. They know a high thread count when they see one, and when they see it on your bed they know their butt belongs on that Egyptian cotton.

She thinks you're at work when she takes a nap in your bed. Photography ©damedeeso | Getty Images.
She thinks you’re at work when she takes a nap in your bed. Photography ©damedeeso | Getty Images.

9. They know it’s wrong

If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette in a high school bathroom or didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign when there were no other cars in sight, you know how your dog feels when she’s rolling around on your bed when (she thinks) you’re at work — it’s deliciously wrong.

You also know how your high school principal or that cop who gave you the ticket felt about you — mildly annoyed.

10. But they love you

The bottom line on and the most definitive answer to, “Why is my dog sleeping in bed with me?” They just want to sleep next to their best friend, and really, how can we blame them for that?

Top Photo: ©Solovyova | Getty Images.

This piece was originally published in 2018.

Read Next: Does Your Dog Wake You Up in the Middle of the Night? We Can Help!

 

80 thoughts on “Here’s Why Your Dog Always Wants to Sleep With You”

  1. My 15 month old Maltipoo pup sleeps in bed with me and gives me the most loving cuddles and spoons. I am so lonely when he decides to hop off and get into his own bed. He only does that when he’s super exhausted and prefers to curl up and be alone. He usually gets up in a few hours whining to come back up on my bed. He gets groomed once a month and a bath in between so he’s quite clean. I do not know how I lived properly without a dog. It took me until I was 60 to experience the best love I have ever felt in my whole life. I’m convinced that having an animal or two is the best therapy one can get….

  2. my dog is old maybe 16 years old he sleeps in his own comfy bed but now seems he wants to sleep on the floor by my side near my bed i ask to go to his own bed but doesnt want, to his not cold his got his dog blankie and were in florida so i think hes not cold,i feel theres something wrong with him.

  3. The GAIN TV commercial says it all. Micaelangelo, the big dog , a boxer I think just loves his owners bed the minute they make it up to leave everyday to go to work. LOL, pets are our best friends, our babies, and love us unconditionally. My dog leaves less hair than my hairy husband. . Gotta love them all!??????

  4. Hi, there is a solution to let your baby sleep through the night. Please click on this link to watch the video. https://youtu.be/AHDeWyq0onU Thank you. Marc

  5. There’s no reason why anyone should jugge other on why they let their pets sleep with them or not.keeping that pet&not mistreating it is plenty good. I sleep with my 3 tiny dogs because it made me happy.they are warm&cuddly.that’s all to it.

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  8. Diane Ethridge

    I read that if a dog sleeps at the same level as the owner, it means he is co-alpha. In the wild, the alpha dog of the pack always sleeps at a higher level in order to be able to see a threat coming towards his pack. That being the possible case, our rescue (from a hot car) poodle, who was 3.5 mos old when his life was saved, can sleep anywhere he chooses. He wants to be on the floor beside us if we’re up and on the bed beside us when we lie down. Once when I was recovering from surgery, I was in bed all day long. He didn’t leave my side except for the “necessary” reasons and then returned promptly. The bond between us is beautiful and he can sleep anywhere he wants. In the effort to teach dogs “manners”, sometimes what they are actually feeling, I believe, is rejection.

    1. Dr. Bob & Linda Pelllegrine

      We love these beautiful stories about “puppy love ” that is the incredible love that our puppies have for us. Our sweet doxie pups have always slept in our bed with us and we love it.

  9. Love the picture of dog head on his face..That would be our dog.
    She is a large dog that will wine loud if she wants you to wake up..
    She start at our feet, but we wake up with her head on our face, or sleeping on her back with her head on the pillow..She is a great dog.

  10. C.H. Fletcher

    My question is, Why DOESN’T my dog like to sleep on the bed with me? If he’s hanging out there while I’m getting ready for bed, he jumps off as soon as I come to get in. He occasionally gets up there with me but never stays longer than 5 minutes, if that. Sometimes he sleeps on the floor at the foot of the bed; most often he sleeps downstairs. FWIW he’s a 5 y.o. rescue mix of Aussie and Catahoula; I got him when he was 2 and he’s always behaved like this.

  11. I got Panda when she was 4 weeks old. I am a single woman and Panda is like my child. She is my best friend. I feed her, play with her, walk her, take her for car rides which she absolutely loves and I let her sleep in my bed. We both get a good nights sleep. Panda knows what time is wake up time and bed time. She is scared of thunder storms and has her own hiding space in my bed.
    Panda is a 50 pound pittbull and she is my family. I left her with my son for 3 days while I was out of town and Panda was miserable. She didn’t eat, sleep and threw up and pottied every where. When I walked in the door to pick her up she was so excited to see me!! She thought I had left her. I told my son we would have to be buried together because Panda wouldn’t live without me.
    When a stranger comes to my door Panda is the first to jump up and let them know she is boss. When I am sick she stays by my side. When I am happy she licks my face all over.
    Panda is 3 now and for her love and protection she can sleep in my bed for the rest of our lives!!!!

    1. Sweet..my big pitt dane is my big toddler baby. He was rescued to be my support dog…I’m his support person. Hes timid sweet and loyal. Never growled or mean ever. I never had a dog like him. When i had my leg amputation he stayed with me comforted me and knew when i was sad or in pain. I know hes a big lug..but I let him on my bed..finally now at foot of bed. He used to sleep next to me head on pillow..but now at foot. Hes a protector( although I doubt he would fence off an intruder but his size is intimidating)
      He’s my big boy and getting older now so…let him be happy cause he sure makes me happy! Nothing like my Murray!

    2. Cheryl, I’m just like u wen it comes to my Jazmyn. Wen I was hospitalized for almost 1 week, my husband told me everyday Jazmyn was sick & throwing up alot, she didn’t want to eat, play or go outside. My bathrobe was on the couch and Jazmyn slept on it all curled up. As soon as I came home my Jazmyn was cured. I Thank God everyday that my daughter bought her for me wen I had surgery. Jazmyn has saved my life. I love her with all my heart and she is my lil girl. ;-).

  12. I feel like it’s a privilege when your pet wants to sleep in bed with you. It shows how much they love and trust you. They just want to be part of the pack and sleep with the family in the big bed. I love it! I have one dog (a hound dog) who will jump in bed with us and lay at the foot of the bed but she won’t stay for very long and never all night. I have another dog a small mix who is a rescue who sleeps right up against me at all times and I really love it. So I guess it just depends on the dogs preferences and the humans preferences. But I feel a lot of it has to do with being part of a pack. The rescue was tied up on a short chain and left alone and never played with or even given a steady supply of food or water before we adopted her so she was all alone for so long she doesn’t want to be alone again so I understand that and allow her to sleep where she feels most safe and secure. The hound dog has always been spoiled and in a loving home so she’s more independent than the rescue is so I allow her to sleep where she feels most comfortable. It’s all about doing what is best for your dog

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  14. There are 2 types of dog parents: type-1 who allows their fur babies in bed with them and type-2 who does not allow it. Im type-1 that allows my dog to sleep on my bed. My Cici can sleep where ever she pleases.

  15. My 4 Shihtzu’s have always slept with me, as soon as they are house trained as puppies. I, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. One of them, sleeps with his head on the pillow, next to me. I, live alone and have a king sized bed, so, we have plenty of room!! I get woken up by them, with lots of kisses, when it is time to wake up and it’s truly lovely!! They don’t wake me up, unless there is a good reason, to do so. They are excellent guard dogs!

  16. Years back, my 65 pound dog was really not a very good dog. Not mean, just not good. Almost as if he was searching for things to get in trouble over. One really cold winter night, I got him out of his bed and literally had to coax him up on my bed. Immediately went to foot of bed, opposite side, curled into a ball and didn’t move. Same thing next night. Third night required no coaxing. The amazing thing, tho’…a dramatic change in his behavior. I think he began to feel like one of the pack.
    Now at age 13, he can’t jump up on the bed. Got him some steps but he really doesn’t want to sleep up there. I put his crate in my room and he either sleeps next to my bed or in his crate. I still kind of miss being able to reach out with my foot and touch him.

    1. Thats what people forget..they are pack animals..they instinctively sleep together. You are one of the pack..the Alpha…so of course they want n need to sleep with their leader..cats also do this especially if only one cat in home…if you dont understand this or like this..get a turtle!!

  17. I can’t sleep without a dog in my home, and especially without my dog in my bed. I love my little cuddle-bugs. She snuggles up close to my tummy, I cover us both with the blanket, and we sleep like that till morning. She’s a great watchdog, and unless something disturbs her, nothing disturbs me. When we wake up together, it’s happy happy, just like a first greeting all over again! What a joyous way to begin a new day!

    1. That’s exactly the way I feel about my Jazmyn, BarbaraJean. I can’t fall asleep until she’s up in bed with me, covered up and usually on her back. I too wouldn’t have it any other way! 😉

  18. Hi everyone
    In my case every night when I feel my doggie in my back is my switch to fall asleep right away ,
    Nothing is more sweet than weak up and see my doggui next to me.

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  20. My dogs have always shared my bed. Wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a companionable comfort in sensing that loving, warm body next to mine, even when it insinuates itself between me and my human companion.

    1. Ronnie Cunningham

      Hi Sammi,you’ve hit the nail on the head five golden retrievers over44years I wouldn’t have it any other way????????????either…….

  21. Awesome list Heather and agree with all of them. I read your post with a smile on my face as all I could think of was my Chester in all the different positions he gets himself on my bed. You gotta love em.

  22. We have 2 dogs, 50# & 62# that sleep with us. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, I don’t always get a good night’s sleep but bonding with my dogs and the security felt when they’re sleeping with us is worth it! Especially since my hearing is shot, they are my ears while I’m sleeping.

    Why do parents allow small children to sleep with them? No difference! I’d rather the dogs sleep with me.

    1. When dealing with infants, having them sleep next to the mother helps when it comes to feeding, since the baby has to be fed every few hours. You don’t have to worry about that with a dog. Also, the goal is to transition the child to his/her own bed at some point.

  23. Dogs in the bed has always been a no go for us. It amazes me how some people think your dog is being mistreated if you don’t allow it to sleep in the bed with you. I also don’t understand how some people say that their dog prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep, yet refuse to move the dog to the floor or its own bed.

          1. They are sleeping in your bed because you let them. Period. It’s a truly disgusting practice and I wouldn’t even want to be in the house of anyone that sleeps with their dog.

        1. Marilyn: amen amen amen to your Amen. Somehow I can’t sleep without at least one of my dogs on the bed. They take turns sleeping on the bed. I have to write notations on my calendar as to whose turn it is for sleeping on the bed with me. Sometimes all of us will sleep on the bed and they hardly give me any room at all. Sometimes they push me off of the bed.

          1. If decilon can’t go to sum1’s house who sleeps with their dog/s wat makes him think we even want him to visit. Stay in ur on house by urself. Most of us r animal lovers!!! And y doesn’t that person not have a reply to comment anyway? Maybe decilon shouldn’t even b on this site;-)

          2. LOL Even small dogs can push you off the bed in their sleep. I learned how prevent that, but I like that want to sleep with me. It just seems right, the sleep with me!

        1. Oh my god you horrible person Kelli j
          My got I’s human not dog
          You’d never know I had a dog till you tried something stupid and she’s a pit bull
          Most loving person on the planet
          If your so shallow that you think you can’t walk into someone’s house cause they sleep with their dog ?
          I would want to come to your non loving home of no cuddles
          Get a life you evil troll

    1. Three Springers (60 lbs, 58 lbs, 55lbs) = 3 dogs in bed with us. Glad we have a king size bed! And we provide steps to get up into our comfy bed. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

      1. Ha ha ha!!! I have a queen size bed so it is quickly filled up with my 2 very large dobermans and myself! I need a king king bed but they don’t make them!

        1. Laura Sprinkles

          I have seven German shepherds in my house with a full size bed. Usually there are three to four of them in my bed. Lol

    2. Maybe people like to have their dogs and cats sleep with them. Big deal. I like my cats with me and my wife likes the dogs with her. Again, big deal. Adios

      1. Molly’s mom!

        Sounds like you two are a perfect match! I say Hoo Ray for two people to be perfectly happy with all your pets sleeping in your bed and not be judgmental to those who feel differently. All in all, who cares? You and your wife seem happy to sleep as you prefer ! Nice! My pup (she’s four…but still my pup) sleeps UNDER our bed (especially during a storm), then early morning hops up on our bed hugging my legs and quickly is asleep and snoring! Her own bed remains in our room, but often not slept on. Her choice. My choice is to allow her near my side. ? Hubby is usually awake and up before she hops up near me. I love it!

        1. I agree with BK. Put them on the floor where they belong. Who wants to wake up with a paw, or something else, in your mouth?

          1. Get a gerbil then… geez, I can’t believe how many uptight dog owners there are! Poor dogs need a real home!! If you “think” of your dog as a pet or slave to you commands, you DON’T need a dog in your life…

          2. Your so uptight aren’t you my husky goes wherever he wants floor or my bed unlike you I have a washing machine and it’s used often but my husky has become a true friend to me unlike most humans he doesn’t stab me in my back
            And I suppose you would not want any dog to lock you as well and that’s just sad

    3. I am with you on this matter. So maybe you can help me. We lost our beautiful Lab, Chow, Great Pyrenees male mix in August of 2016. He was 15 yrs old. My husband’s best friend. :)lol! On Christmas 2017 the kids surprised my husband with a female Lab, Great Pyrenees puppy. The dog has a bed but now sleeps in our bed with my husband, & I sleep on the sofa in the living room. I want my bed back but I refuse to sleep with this beautiful HUGH dog. I love animals but not in my bed. So is there a spray that is clean & safe for humans that smells good that dogs don’t like? Will it help to get something soft to put in the dog’s bed to make it undeniably appealing to her? Please let me know via this site if you want to. I would much appreciate it. Thank you. Patty

      1. Hi there,
        Sorry to hear about your loss + this issue! We suggest working with a behaviorist / trainer to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

        1. I have put a flannel shirt that has my smelll on it with the pup brings him comfort did the same with my four human babies when they transitioned to sleeping alone

          1. Meredith Ahern Tamilio

            My dogs and cats are always aloud to sleep in my bed with me I love them very very much and I’m a groomer so sometimes they just smell so good and hugging them makes me happy I had one of my golden retrievers take naps with my and I would hold his paw and he would lay his leg across me as if he was hugging me on a few occasions I would get a paw in my mouth lol freetoes smelly paws are great but nothing beats puppy breath ahhhh they should bottle it ???♥️??

          2. My little babies can sleep where they.whether it’s on my bed.in my bed .as long as they r happy.our home is their home too.

      2. Air canister can from your hardware store, used to train dogs to stop bad habits, if you don’t like your dog on the bed just spray, the sound scares the dog

      3. Hi Patty! Yes, it’s called we all hope your husband finds a better woman for a wife to share the rest of his life with. You sound terribly uptight as far as animals go and I wouldn’t have married you to begin with. I’m sure your husband is miserable. Anyway, tell him we are all praying for him to find a better mate soon! Cheers!

      4. Sleeping Beauty

        He’s not going no where regardless of anything you put , if your husband allows him on the bed !
        Dogs are very smart ! Maybe if you go back to your bed, he might sense you don’t want him on the bed and he might just jump down to sleep !

      5. I’m here for a similar reason. I have a 3 yr old and I rather not have her sleeping with the dog because of germs. But somehow the doors get opened and the dog gets in. I’ve tried gates too and they also get moved. I even bought satin sheets for my pooch to sleep on.

    4. To each his own… my senior girl has the lower right corner of my bed covered up with her own fuzzy blanket, she has slept there her entire life even though she has a crate and her own doggie bed foam mattress! The only time she slept on her mattress was last year when she had her knee operated on! I laid it directly beside of my bed so she knew I was there! My new rescue does both she will start out on a huge ottoman at the foot of my bed, but sometime thru the night she crawls onto the bed above her sister but cuddled next to me so shes touching me!!
      But only truly people into their dogs will get it or understand!!! U r apparently are not one of them sorry to say!!

      1. I hate to admit it but…it somehow gives me comfort..i feel safe. I suffer from anxiety depression and PTSD…my dog near me at night works better than any meds.
        Yes..i gag at dog smell..but good bathing..of her..constant washing bedspreads..febreeze and Gain..sure helps. Besides..those sweet doggie eyes…cant refuse. She like one of my kids..they slept with me too..im a pushover! But love is love..right❤

      2. Danald. Frederick

        Honestly I would never put my dog on the floor just because they are an animal does not mean they have to be treated with less affection.attention,and love as a human just because they have fur and four legs they have feelings too people if you don’t want your dog sleeping in bed with you…..GET A BIRD!!!!!

      3. Marilyn: amen amen amen to your Amen. Somehow I can’t sleep without at least one of my dogs on the bed. They take turns sleeping on the bed. I have to write notations on my calendar as to whose turn it is for sleeping on the bed with me. Sometimes all of us will sleep on the bed and they hardly give me any room at all. Sometimes they push me off of the bed.

      4. I hear u, I absolutely luv luv luv that my Babygirl sleeps in my bed. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes she has a crate and a bed of her own next to mine but I love the fact that she sleeps in the middle of my legs. If I’m not sleeping on the floor than neither is my Baby(although she’s 1 1/2yrs old) but she’s my Baby always and forever. I just wish all dogs could talk like us(even tho they do in their own way, and we understand wat their saying) LOL. My Baby will always b welcomed in my bed!!! 😉

        1. The GAIN TV commercial says it all. Micaelangelo, the big dog , a boxer I think just loves his owners bed the minute they make it up to leave everyday to go to work. LOL, pets are our best friends, our babies, and love us unconditionally. My dog leaves less hair than my hairy husband. . Gotta love them all!??????

    5. It’s the same for me. However, I sleep on the floor with blankets that together costed me almost $100.
      My air bed deflated. The dog belongs to my niece. I am not into animals. For some weird reason this dog keeps walking near my pallet, gas been caught cuddled in my blankets, and keeps trying to sleep on my velvety blankets!
      It infuriates me! What is going on here? He is very hard headed, “side eyes” people, is very nosy, and carries things out of the room! Tell me, what is wrong with this animal??????

      1. The dog clearly likes you , if he’s carrying things from your room he could be just trying to get your attention maybe he’s lonely or anxious and your smell comforts him .

      2. Absolutely nothing is wrong with “this animal”. If you were ‘kind’ enough to have your nieces dog in your house, for whatever reason, you need to accept the fact that her dog has his own personality and needs! Plus, his behavior suggests that he likes being around you! Maybe if you’re not into animals, you shouldn’t have taken your nieces dog into your home! But since you did, DEAL WITH IT!!! Dogs are not stupid things that you can just dismiss as inferior beings. They have feelings, desires, and needs. And, your niece probably loves that dog. Please treat him accordingly!

    6. Sleeping Beauty

      You for sure is not a dog person!
      I have a belgian mallinois shepard and if he’s not on my bed mmmm definetaly I won’t have a good night sleep. He’s the best, and so smart and energetic!

    7. Dogs are pack animals and deserve to be treated as an equal member!!!! Which at minimum is sleeping on the bed with you, their best friend! If you don’t agree, please don’t get anymore dogs!!!!

    8. @Decilon, Eww… The ONLY thing disgusting is YOU and your repulsive remark that nobody asked for! You are blatantly saying that 81% of Pet Owners that allow their dogs in their beds are sick/gross people, uhmm mkay thanks for showing the World what nice personality you have! Don’t you have some BLM rally to attend?? (Yes! I can tell you are as black on the inside, as you are on the out) Or why are you on a website that is clearly not for you?? They must not pay you fake protesters enough $ to waste on something that really interests y’all. Oh and one last thing, that “disgusting practice” you call pets in our beds, is actually benefiting my health as we speak. According to web.MD and health line- Sleeping next to your bed can help ppl reduce stress-related factors such as epinephrine and norepinephrine and also lower their owners blood pressure, cortisol and so on…
      Meanwhile you will keep producing that Cortisol and get so angry you’ll surely soon have a Heart Attack or Stroke and die prematurely, because of your ugliness inside. Go fix it…

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