It’s a well-known fact that on an average a dog and a cat would sleep for about 12–13 hours a day depending on their age and breed. In most cases, pets modify their sleep cycle according to the family members. But the amount of time the pet sleeps also depends on the physical and environmental conditions prevailing. They are more active when all the family members are around and try to catch a quick nap when they are on their own. Sleep is a coping mechanism for both humans as well as pets. In every day scenario if we are stressed, tired or unhappy about a situation, we try and sleep it over. Although the problem is not sorted that way, by sleeping we certainly get the energy to face that tough situation with new positivity and zeal. The same is the case with our beloved canine friends. They cope with their stress by sleeping, as by sleeping they would avoid that situation. It is very important that our pooches get a good sleep as it is essential for their emotional as well as physical well-being. Thus as pet parents it becomes our prime responsibility to provide our pets with a warm cosy bed at a quiet place away.
Pets have their favourite places and it is these places that they prefer over all other because they feel a sense of belonging, comfort and security with that particular place.
Pet parents should make changes in their pooches’ bedding according to the seasonal changes. In summers, the fabric should be soft and breathable. The best option would be cotton as they would not feel the heat and since it is soft it would not cause any sort of rashes or infection on their skin. While, winters are best enjoyed when you are warm, so provide them with an extra layer of insulation from the chilling floor in those breezy winter months.
Sleeping place: with us or not?
It is we who decide that whether they should be allowed on our beds and couches. For some people it is a regular thing to be sharing their bed or the couch with their canine friends but for others it can be difficult. So, should dogs be allowed on beds?
Well, everything has its own advantages and disadvantages; it is upon us how we perceive a particular thing. The pros include – greater bonding, relationship building, sense of security for both the pet and the pet parent whereas the cons can be – health and hygiene issues in terms of their hair, nails and many more. But for most pet parents these are secondary issues and what matters most is that their pet is with them.
Dr Mohan M Deshkar, Canine World, Pune believes that our canine friends should sleep on their own beds. He recommends that when you make a puppy a part of your family, you should try and crate-train him wherein he can sleep inside the crate. For most pups, crates are a great sleeping environment as it is safe and secure, he says. The second option is to let the pup sleep in a separate room, by doing so, you teach the puppy independence. It is a good idea that you leave at least one piece of your clothing like a shirt or a t-shirt with the pet because that way he would have that sense of proximity by sensing the smell. The third option is for those pet parents who just cannot bear the fact of being separated from their pets even when they are sleeping. They can put the pet’s foam bed (the market is full of various kinds and styles of beds depending on the size of your pooch) in their rooms. The fourth option is to have a bed in the living room where the family gathers to spend time or watch TV. As your pet is also a part, if they also have a bed in the living room they can also be comfortable.
Dr Mohan further says that as pet parents we should make sure that our pets have different beds so that they can choose the place according to the mood. Kanta Sharma is a school teacher and a pet parent of Tipsy, a mischievous Lhasa Apso abides by this rule. Tipsy has three beds in three different rooms, one in the drawing room, second in Kanta’s bedroom and the third in Kanta’s daughter’s bedroom. She wanders and sleeps wherever the family members are and often when she gets bored of all the three beds, she hops on to their bed to get that extra dose of pampering.
For Monika Maan (from Delhi) and her five-year-old Labrador Brunie, the situation is similar. On talking to her we found that Brunie has a lot of options. “He sleeps on his own bed, the couch and my bed – all depending on his mood,” says Monika.
Zulekha Khatri from Dogaholics, Mumbai is a groomer, who firmly believes that our pets are like our babies and they sleep peacefully when they are with their pet parents. But amidst all this she adds a very important point, the bed/bedding should be kept at such a place that you don’t accidently step on them and hurt them.
Another groomer, Sadhwi Sondhi from Red Paws Spa at Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi says that just like we have our own bed, our pets also need their own beds where they feel safe. Thus it is important that we establish a set sleeping place for our dogs in our home and for that you would have to keep a watch as to where the dog prefers to doze off. Our pets keep sleeping here and there because they don’t have a proper place and leave them with no choice. The main thing to keep in mind while buying a bed for your pooch is the size, shape and fabric of the dog bed. A good dog bed for your dog is one which is soft (in terms of the cushioning and fabric), comfortable and easy to clean. Make sure that your beloved would fit in with ease even when he is stretching, she adds. Smaller breeds prefer to curl up hence round beds are good for them. On the other hand, large dog breeds sleep lying down, so rectangular beds will be good for them.
While, Sherry Daroch of Shevar – Spa & Grooming Parlour for Pets, Bengaluru is herself an avid dog lover and she enlightened us by sharing with us something that can be overlooked in most cases. For our senior furry friends, especially those with arthritis, there are special arthritic beds available in the market nowadays, which will give him some relief from pain. Just because a blue bed matches the décor of your house would not mean that blue bed would be the best for your pet. Consider factors like material, size and the overall comfort before you purchase a bed for your pet. She adds that when her pet sleeps with her, she feels de-stressed and relaxed.
R Senthil Kumar from Shekas Home Dog Training, Chennai believes that the dog’s affection makes them a part of our family. “Our pets like to sleep with their pet parents because the pet parents’ smell will help the dogs sleep happily and securely. Sometimes our pets are more attached to one specific family member and like to sleep with them only. The problem arises when they are not around and your pet is in distress,” he says. But there is a solution. Senthil suggests that by making your pet speak to that member on phone, you can calm him down. How this would be possible? Simple – just call that person and turn on the speaker phone. By hearing the voice, your pet would feel at peace.
Shatrughan Dubey – breeder at Tinytoys Kennel, Agra has a different opinion. He says that we should not spoil our pets by letting them sleep in our own beds; this will later become a problem for the pet parents. “Also we can keep their toys in the bed so that he loves sleeping at that place and considers it as his own bed,” he adds.
How about a special treat?
Divyang of Pet Inn, a pet store, spa and clinic in Ahmedabad shares that sleeping with your pet is somewhat similar to sharing your bed with a sibling. “The pet arranges the cover and pillows according to his liking; sleeps on his favourite side of the bed, may rest on your feet/arm or keep kicking. It all depends on their mood. Most pets have a favourite blanket or a cushion which they are attached to the most,” he says. He adds that it’s normal for our pets to doze off in the master bedroom when the house is empty during the day because the room smells like you.
But he asserts that the dog should never be led to believe that he has a right to your bed. As a pack animal, he understands that claiming the obvious position of power atop the leader’s bed will make him your household’s dominant member. But if you do want to have them on the bed with you, save it for the rare Sunday morning when it’s understood to be a special treat.
Pet parents’ viewpoints…
For most of us, our pets are our family which means that they are treated equally like any other family member. The Jaiswal residence in Jabalpur city is always bustling with activity and why not, after all they have five pooches, namely Audi Jr – the Pug, Fido – the Labrador, Dodo – the Golden Retriever, Pishtoh – the Bull Mastiff and Max – the German Shepherd. Anisha Jaiswal tells us that while Audi Jr sleeps in her bed, the other four share a common bedroom in which each one of them have their own bed, besides TV because they love music and AC to beat the heat. It is a rule that they all are only allowed on the beds in the kids’ room and the best part is they all obey this rule very happily.
While, Sarbani Das from Odisha shares that Scotch, her Spitz sleeps inside the house but only on his own bed which is made of colourful rugs and blankets. She says that usually Scotch is not allowed on beds but when everybody is too busy and occupied, Scotch stealthily jumps upon her bed.
Our pooches love to break the rules and so do their little pet parents. Zoobie Doobie and Bagheera, the two naughty Labradors of Inam Sarah from the beautiful state of Arunanchal Pradesh, happily sleep in the outhouse where both have their own beds. Usually they are not allowed inside the house because the mischievous duo tear away all the shoes and clothes. Even though they sleep in the outhouse they are not left in the cold. In winters, extra layers of blankets are given to them to keep them warm and cosy. But when Inam’s mom is not around, both Zoobie Doobie and Bagheera get into the house and hop around on the beds with great joy.
For Neha Sabharwal from Delhi, it is a matter of great pride and joy to share her bed with her seven Labradors. She tells us that Candy, Cheeto, Heidi, Mougli, Resin, Browny and Coco hardly know that they are dogs. They are treated like family members and are allowed on all the beds and couches despite each one of them having a separate bed of their own. In winters, they are all given cute blankets which are especially handpicked for them by Neha and her mom. Neha says that it is their choice where they all want to sleep and we have to adjust according to their mood.
On a concluding note…
Everyone has their own opinion based on their routine and comfort. For a breeder, a crate seems to be an ideal sleeping place for dogs and for a passionate pet parent, it is nothing less than a punishment when they can’t cuddle up with their pets. So, it is just a matter of perception. Inside or outside, on your bed or on the couch, wherever your pet sleeps, make sure you don’t forget to give them the big warm bear hug and the goodnight peck for their sweet and meaty dreams. Till then, the debate is still on – should pets be allowed to sleep in your bed or not?