What Does It Mean When Your Dog Sleeps On Your Bed? 21 Feb 2024

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Sleeps On Your Bed?

If you've ever come home to your dog happily lounging on your bed, you'll know that no matter how hard you try, it seems to be an irresistible napping spot for them.

Although this can be an exasperating sight, it might also spark some questions about your dog's behaviour. Are they just being defiant and naughty, or is there a legitimate reason why they can't seem to stay away from your bed?

We don't proclaim to have all the answers, but we've done some research and reached out to some professionals in the animal care industry to help give you more of an insight into why your dog does their best dreaming on your pillow and not in their own dog bed.

Reasons Why Your Dog Wants to Sleep in Your Bed

dog in dogbed

There are many reasons why your dog might prefer to sleep in your bed, whether you're there or not.

Dogs are complex, social creatures, and like us, they like to feel safe, warm, and comfortable.

With this in mind, here are some of the main reasons why your four-legged friend prefers snuggling up with you to their cosy dog bed.

#1 Separation Anxiety

One of the most common reasons why your dog might be more comfortable sleeping in your bed with you is because they're suffering from separation anxiety.

You'll be able to tell whether this is the reason for your dog's naps in your big bed if they only ever sleep there when you're there and if they whine or bark if you try to prevent them from sleeping with you.

You'll likely notice other signs of separation anxiety in general, such as...

  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Destructive behaviour (like scratching & chewing at doorways or furniture)
  • Urinating/defecating

#2 It's Their Pack Instinct

As much as we like to think of our dogs as slightly hairier human family members, they're actually pack animals with their own ideas of how things should be. While we think it's fine for everyone to sleep in their own bed (including the dog), they prefer sleeping in closer quarters.

Dogs naturally want to live by their pack mentality. This means they want to eat, sleep, and travel together. This can result in them feeling more comfortable sleeping in the same bed as you, as a pack.

It can also make them feel safer as it's easier for everyone to keep guard when you're all in one place.

#3 You're a Source of Warmth

Of course, not all the reasons why your dog might like to sleep in your bed with you are that deep. Sometimes, the real reason dogs sleep in your bed is they just want to use you for your warmth.

Despite having beautiful warm coats, dogs still feel the cold and sleeping by themselves in their luxurious dog bed still isn't warm enough for them when you're right there to snuggle up next to.

When it's really cold, this can be a mutually beneficial situation!

big dog on lap

Image by Kosijerphotography from Getty Images Signature via Canva.com

#4 Your Bed Smells Like Them

Dogs' noses have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. Therefore, they're easily swayed by scent. If they recognise their scent on your bed, whether they've been up there before or your clothes have put some of their scent on your sheets, they're going to be drawn to it.

Once your bed smells like them, your dog is much more likely to keep returning to it for their naps when you're not home or at night.

Even washing the bedding might not be enough to deter your dog from climbing into bed with you at night. Their noses are so sensitive they can likely still smell their scent through the washing detergent.

#5 It's More Comfortable Than Their Dog Bed

For some dogs, the room your big, human bed offers them is preferential to their smaller dog bed.

Sometimes, it might even indicate that their bed is the wrong size, especially if they like to stretch out when they snooze. Sprawlers (dogs that sprawl out their legs) and belly-upers (dogs that sleep on their backs with their legs skewiff outwards) will need a slightly bigger dog bed to account for the extra room they need for their preferred sleeping positions.

It's important to ensure that your dog has a comfortable and appropriately sized bed for them to sleep on. This not only provides physical comfort but also helps with their mental well-being. A cramped or uncomfortable bed can lead to stiffness, body aches, and even behavioural issues such as anxiety or restlessness.

If you find your dog seems to struggle to get comfortable in their dog bed, reassess the size and the type of bed he has.

Our Dog Bed Size Chart

What Are the Effects of Sleeping With Dogs in Bed?

When it's really cold, this can be a mutually beneficial situation!

dog in bed with man

Image by pixelshot via Canva.com

Now you know why your dog decides to sleep in your bed with you; you might want to know what effect this sleeping arrangement is having on both you and your dog.

Surprisingly, there are good reasons and not so great reasons why it's advisable or not to sleep with your furry friend on the bed…

Benefits Negatives
Increased Comfort & Security

Dogs are pack animals, and being close to their owners gives them a feeling of protection and belonging.
For the owners, the presence of their dog can also make them feel safe and relaxed.

Potential for Allergies

Dogs carry a host of allergens, such as dander, pollen, and dust, which can trigger allergic reactions, leading to discomfort and interrupted sleep.

Strengthened Bond

Sleeping in the same space can strengthen the bond between you and your pet. This close physical contact helps increase feelings of trust and companionship.

Disruption of Sleep

Despite their cuddly nature, dogs can be quite active during their sleep with movements, noises, and even occasional barking, which could disrupt your sleep.

Emotional Well-Being

Being close to your dog can have positive effects on your emotional well-being. Studies have found that the presence of a pet can lower stress and anxiety levels.

Risk of Disease Transmission

There’s a slight risk of disease transmission from dogs to humans. Parasites such as ticks and fleas can move from your dog to you, potentially causing health issues.

Temperature Regulation

On colder nights, having a dog in your bed can provide additional warmth, acting as a natural heating source and possibly even helping you save on heating costs.

Behavioural Issues

Allowing your dog to sleep on your bed can sometimes lead to behavioural problems. Dogs might become overly possessive, or it may foster dependence.

Enhanced Routine

Having a dog on your bed can help regulate your sleeping pattern. Dogs are creatures of routine and require plenty of sleep. Their regular sleep-wake cycle can encourage you to maintain consistent bedtimes and waking times.

Impact on Intimacy

Having a dog on your bed can impact your personal or intimate space, particularly if you share your bed with a partner. It's essential to consider the implications on your relationships and personal space.

It's important to consider whether this is the right choice for you and your pet. Some dogs may not adapt well to this arrangement, and certain health and behavioural concerns should be taken into account.

Should You Break the Habit of Your Dog Sleeping in Your Bed?

dog in sleeping mask

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It's an incredibly personal choice as a dog owner to decide whether you want to let your dog sleep in your bed.

However, once the habit's been established, it can be incredibly difficult to break it. No matter why you decide to change this behaviour, it's important to be prepared to put in the work to positively train your dog.

Emma Chandley, BVetMed PGCertSAS MRCVS, suggests that “It is a very personal choice, and depends on each owner's unique situation and what they feel comfortable with. It is advised to establish some firm ground rules first and ensure your dog is fully house trained before inviting them into your bed.”

“As long as both dog and owner are healthy and there are no behavioural problems that need addressing, there is no reason they can't share a bed.”

How to Change Their Behaviour

There are a few things dog owners can do to help change their dogs' behaviour and stop them from sleeping on your bed. It's just important to remember that this isn't a quick process, and patience is required.

Step 1: Get Them the Perfect Bed

The best way to start getting your dog to sleep in their own bed is to make sure they've got a space they can call their own.

You might think the bed they have is perfectly fine, but getting them a new one can inject the right amount of excitement and enthusiasm to kick-start the process of getting them off your bed for good.

Make sure they have a dog bed that's a suitable size for them and allows them to sleep in the position they find most comfortable.

Shop All Dog Beds


Step 2: Find the Perfect Spot for Their New Bed

Once you’ve chosen the best dog bed, make sure you're putting it in the ideal spot.

For dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, placing their bed next to your bed can give them the reassurance they need while keeping them in their own space. With this approach, you might also need to teach your dog the "off" command when they try to cross the boundaries of your bed.

Step 3: Create Positive Associations

You want your dog's bed to be a place where they feel comfortable, safe, and happy. To do this, you need to make sure there are positive associations with the bed – in other words, avoid using it as a punishment in any way, like sending them there when they’ve misbehaved.

You can also use treats to encourage your dog to spend time in their bed when they're feeling happy. This will make them more inclined to use their bed over yours.

Step 4: Make Sure They're Tired Before Bed

The process of training your dog takes time and patience. There's naturally going to be some resistance from your dog, especially if they've always slept on your bed.

Our top tip for getting through this process is to make sure your pooch is tired before they go to bed. If they're too tired to keep trying to get onto your bed, they'll be more inclined to sleep on their bed.

Step 6: Be Consistent

In order to successfully train your dog to sleep in their own bed, you need to be consistent. This means ignoring their whines and cries in the night. Generally, this phase only lasts the first few nights, so it's not forever.

Give Your Dogs Their Ultimate Sleep Space With Bronte Glen

If you're ready to move your dog from being curled up in your bed to peacefully snoozing in their own bed, start the process with a luxurious dog bed from our great range.

Made from premium-quality materials, our range of beds can accommodate any size of dog and just about any temperament. From our Trojan Dog Beds for pesky chewers to our Senior Gold 7+ for elderly pooches, we've got you covered.

Shop our full range online at Bronte Glen today.


Yes, dogs often choose to sleep with their favourite person as it provides them comfort and security. Their favourite person is typically the one who provides them with the most care and attention. However, this can also be influenced by other factors such as warmth, comfort, and the person's scent.

Your dog may be sleeping under your bed for a variety of reasons. This could be due to a need for privacy, comfort, cooler temperatures, or even a desire to feel safe and secure. In some cases, it could also be a sign of anxiety or fear. Consider consulting with a vet or a professional dog behaviourist if the behaviour persists or causes concern.

When a dog sleeps on you in bed, it often signifies a deep bond and affection towards you. They consider you part of their pack and seek closeness for warmth, comfort, and security. However, it can also indicate over-dependence or separation anxiety, particularly if they exhibit signs of distress when not near you.

When you're not there, your dog may sleep in your spot as it is warm and carries your scent, both of which provide comfort and security. This behaviour also stems from their pack instinct, marking their presence in the absence of their leader (you).