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5 Tips for Sleeping with Your Pet

Does your pup like to snuggle up to you at night? Make sure you follow these rules to ensure you get the best sleep possible.

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Sleep Deprived?

Letting you dog sleep in your bed can prove to be a bad decision down the road. They can disrupt your sleep without you realizing it or can wake you up when they need to go to the bathroom.

“It’s a personal choice,” says Patrick Mahaney, veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist, of California Pet Acupuncture & Wellness. “The advantages include companionship, warmth and a sense of security.”

The drawbacks are lack of sleeping space for you and interruption of normal sleep patterns.

Indeed a 2002 Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center survey of 300 sleep disorder patients found that 53 per cent of pet owners’ sleep was disrupted nightly to some extent by their pets.

To break your dog of the bed-sleeping habit, Mahaney offers these tips:

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1. Set the Rules

Establish a separate area or bed for your dog to sleep in.

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2. Be Positive

Use positive reinforcement techniques when it is comfortable resting in its own bed.

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3. Don’t Back Down

Immediately address territorial aggression, such as growling when you move in bed or nipping at your heels. If you dog growl or nips, say “No!” Next, remove it from the bed onto the floor or its own bed and command it to sit and stay. Praise it verbally or with a training treat.

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4. Keep Your Pets Above the Covers

If you decide to share your bed with your dog, Mahaney says: Let it sleep on the covers instead of under them. It may have environmental debris, including fecal material on its coat.



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5. Make a Potty Run

Give your pet a chance to void within a reasonable timeframe before you go to sleep.


This article was originally in the May 2009 issue of Reader’s Digest. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!