Many people consider their pets to be members of the family. Their presence can bring joy and excitement into our homes. They help us to relax, keep us company, reduce anxiety and encourage us to go outside and move. The relationship between a dog and its owner has been scientifically proven to have positive effects on emotions.
But living with a pet also has its challenges. One of these is deciding whether or not dogs should be allowed on the furniture. Should you let your dog up on the couch? Is it a good idea to let your dog sleep with you in your bed? If not, where should your dog sleep at night? Do dogs need a bed of their own?
These are all fair questions that most dog owners have asked themselves at least once. There are plenty of reasons not to allow your dog on the furniture — including fear of spreading germs and building bad habits. If you do decide to share your bed or couch with your dog, there are some measures that you can take to reduce the mess and the potential spread of disease.
Read on for a handy guide on weighing the pros and cons of letting your dog sleep on the couch or in your bed.
Cons of Letting a Dog Use Furniture
Not letting your pup on the couch doesn’t mean you love them any less. There are well-founded reasons why you shouldn’t let your dog sleep in a bed with you. Here are a few:
Spread of Dirt and Diseases
We love our pets as much as humans, but this doesn’t change the fact that they are animals. Bringing in dirt and debris from outside is in their nature. And let’s face it, a lot of it ends up on the furniture where we lounge or sleep. Zoonotic diseases — infectious illnesses transmitted from dogs to humans — are also a real threat. There is a long list of them that while rare, are still important reasons dogs may need a bed.
It Affects Sleep Quality
It’s nice to go to bed and wake up to a cute ball of fur next to you, but some people may find that bed-sharing negatively impacts their sleep cycle. Dogs twist and turn while they sleep, just like humans do. So if you’re a light sleeper and you let your dog on the furniture, you might be woken up several times a night.
By allowing your dog in bed or on the couch, you’re also an accident away from having to steam clean your mattress/sofa cushions or buy a new mattress altogether.
Every time you walk your dog outside and return home, your pup’s fur and paws become allergen carriers. In this case, dust and pollen are the most common culprits. Your dog can transfer them onto your bed or couch, which can worsen or cause allergy symptoms.
And of course, there’s shedding — a natural process for our canine friends that unfortunately results in loose hair showing up on our furniture and around the house.
Negative Impact on Your Dog’s Behavior
Dogs are territorial animals. If you let your dog sit on the couch (or sleep in bed with you), you may accidentally signal to them that these areas are part of their territory. Consequently, you may notice them growling at you or other people when they attempt to use the furniture.
Safety Practices for Allowing Your Dog on the Furniture
If you do decide that you don’t want to restrict your dog’s access to the furniture, here are a few tips that will make bed and furniture-sharing a healthier and safer experience.
Choose Pet-Friendly Home Textiles
Not all fabrics are created equal when it comes to the mess our pets often leave behind. If you're shopping for a new sofa, you may want to look into options in genuine leather or its vegan counterpart. These are excellent examples of non-porous tightly-weaved materials that are easily vacuumed and won’t have a ball of dog hair stuck in them after your pup’s nap.
Outdoor fabrics are often stain-resistant, odor-resistant, and moisture-resistant, making them a great alternative for indoor living room furniture. Natural fibers such as jute and seagrass are a fantastic, chic and pet-friendly rug option.
And when it comes to the bedroom, linen bedding is naturally antimicrobial and incredibly durable without sacrificing softness and comfort.
If you let your dog on the furniture and you’d like a list of pet-friendly bedding fabrics, read our guide: All You Need to Know About Pet Friendly Fabrics.
Have Your Dog Regularly Groomed
Maintaining your dog’s hygiene is important not only for their health but for yours as well. As a general rule of thumb, every dog should be brushed at least once a week. (You should brush certain breeds even more frequently). Regular brushing will reduce the amount of dog hair you find on the furniture. It will also remove dirt and debris that might be stuck on your pup’s coat.
And while bathing is usually recommended once every four to six weeks, you can rinse the dirt off your dog’s fur (without using shampoo) more often than that.
Finally, regularly clipping your puppy's nails is essential if you want to keep dirt and other impurities out of your home and furniture, and keep couches, chairs, and beds from getting scratched or torn.
For more advice on keeping your home clean and smelling fresh, read our article on Home Fragrances: How to Keep Your Home Smelling Good
Wash Your Bedding More Often
If you and your dog share a bed, increase how often you wash your bed sheets and duvet cover. This will keep bacteria, dirt and dust away, ensuring a clean and healthy sleep environment for you and your canine friend.
In addition, you may also want to invest in a protector for both your mattress and duvet. These are expensive pieces of bedding, so to extend their life and to keep them in top shape, you should cover them in a tightly woven protective layer.
Bedding care is extra-important when you let your dog up on the furniture. Read more about how to care for your bedding in our guide: How to Wash and Properly Care for Bedding in 2021.
Train Your Dog to Obey “Off” Commands
The “off” command will teach your dog to keep away from something, whether that’s food or the sofa. Some people allow their pups on the couch and in bed only occasionally — and as long as their pets obey “off” commands.
If your dog follows you onto the sofa and you say “off,” they should immediately get off of it. Teach them that spending time on the furniture is a reward, and is only allowed when they obey your commands or when you invite them. Keep your training consistent so your dog doesn’t get confused.
Where Should Dogs Sleep at Night?
No one wants their dog lying on the cold floor at night. So the short answer to this question is — your pet should sleep in their own bed. Providing your dog with their own place to sleep at the end of the day is important not only for keeping dogs off of the furniture but for their own wellbeing, too. Here are some of the benefits:
A Comfortable Place to Rest
Everyone needs a comfy place to sleep and recharge, and that includes your dog. One reason dogs need a bed is that a nice, high-quality dog bed will provide pets with a cushioned and supportive place to snuggle up and catch some Z’s, whether for a quick afternoon nap or at night after a long day of playing.
Keeps Your Dog Off of Furniture
When teaching the “off” command, your dog should have a place of their own to go to when you tell them it’s time to get down. You can place their bed on the same level as your couch so your dog feels like they can be a part of the family without being on the furniture.
Dog Beds Are Important for Training Purposes
If you start teaching your pup to sleep in their bed from an early age, they will learn to be more independent and stay off the furniture later.
Training them to rest in their own bed will also come in handy when you’re away and would like to keep your bed or the sofa off limits to them.
It’s Important for Their Mental and Physical Health
Just like your mattress provides support for your body, a dog bed is engineered to deliver muscle and joint support for your pup. Dogs need a bed especially as they get older and develop health issues.
Apart from keeping dogs off the furniture, having their own bed is also great for your pup’s mental development. Dogs, too, need a safe space to unwind and escape from all of the noise and activity around them. Having a dog bed will help reduce stress and anxiety, which will in turn result in a happier pup.
Why Is a Canvas Dog Bed the Best Option?
There is a lot of variety on the market when it comes to dog beds. But if you're looking for a durable, budget-friendly and easy-to-clean option, then cotton canvas is the way to go. This fabric provides your canine friend with a soft and comfortable surface to lie on, and when the time comes, you can easily take the cover off and wash it in the washer.
Pro Tip: Choose Your Dog Bed Size Wisely
As you’d expect, a yorkie has different bed needs than a golden-retriever. For small dogs under 35 pounds, consider a small dog bed with dimensions of 28”x35”. For a dog larger than 35 pounds, opt for a large dog bed with dimensions of 38”x42”.
For details on the safest, strongest, and most aesthetic fabrics for dog beds, explore the guide to the Best Dog Bed Materials for Comfort, Durability, and Style.
Where to Shop for Premium Dog Bed and Pet-Friendly Furniture and Bedding?
Our Oeko-Tex-certified bedding features options that will ensure your and your four-legged friend’s comfort and quality sleep. You can also shop a line of mattress, pillow and duvet protectors that will keep your bulkiest bedding items clean much longer. Looking for something beyond bed linen? A Chunky Jute Rug is a beautiful and pet-friendly alternative to a standard rug that is easy to clean and extremely durable. Lastly, your dog will love dozing off in their new Canvas Dog Bed that provides plenty of cushioning and support.
Humans need a good night's sleep too! For more resources on sleeping, read on: