Can Dogs Breathe Under Blankets?

Did you know that a survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association revealed that 42 percent of dog owners let their pooches sleep with them?

That is quite a high statistic. Are you and your dog in that 42 percent?

I know I am. My whippet sleeps under the covers with me. Every. Single. Night. The temperature does not seem to matter to him; even in Summer, he will sleep under the covers. 

It gets a bit ridiculous sometimes. I can hear him panting audibly so I have to pull the covers off his head. 

He comes up for air a few times a night though when he gets too hot! But then he gets cold again and dives back under the covers. I am told this is typical whippet behavior.

Most people I know who have dogs let them sleep in the bed with them.

But is it safe? Can dogs actually breathe under blankets? Let’s take a look.

 dog under covers

A Dog Under The Covers

It makes sense that our dogs love to sleep with us. Dogs are pack animals and we are their pack. We make them feel safe with our presence, and they make us feel safe with their alertness. They have slept with us since the Stone Age.

But in this day and age, where the risk of being stomped on by a mammoth is low, is it ok for our dogs to sleep with us?

The number one reason why sleep experts pooh pooh letting dogs into our beds is due to the fact that they disturb our sleep. 

A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic demonstrated that more than half of participants who reported sleep disturbances were pet owners. Of this group of sleep-deprived pet owners, 41 percent let their pet sleep in their bed, with another 58 percent reporting being awoken by a pet in the room that snored, scratched, snuffled, etc.

So it looks like having a dog in the bed is not all that good for us. But I know I won’t be kicking my dog out any time soon. It is a matter of personal preference.

But back to the topic at hand – is it safe for the dog to get under the covers with us?

Is It Safe For A Dog To Sleep Under The Covers?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, which are outlined in easy-to-read dot-point form below:

  • The age of the dog – it is not safe for a pup to sleep under the covers because they are too little to get themselves out, and they may become smothered;
  • The mobility of the dog – an old dog that has arthritis, for example, may find it hard to get themselves out from under the covers;
  • What type of sleeper you are – if you are a light sleeper then it may be ok – my dog wakes me up several times per night if he is hot, but I am a super light sleeper;
  • The time of year – dogs are at a higher risk of overheating in warmer weather;
  • The breed of dog – brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs suffer from respiratory problems due to having a much-shortened snout. This means that the air has less distance to cool down as it travels from the dog’s nose to their lungs. My whippet has a snout like Pinocchio so he can always poke his nose out for some air.
  • The type of bedding you use – do you have several layers or sheets that a dog can get tangled up in? What material is it made from? Cotton breathes, whereas wool and feathers are super hot. I have one polyester Doona on my bed and I live in a cold climate, so there is low risk of my dog suffocating.

Will My Dog Suffocate Under The Covers?

If you have considered all of the points in the above list, then you should have your answer to this question based on your circumstances.

If you have a healthy adult dog that is a long-snouted breed, you live in a cool or cold climate, you yourself are a light sleeper and you have minimal bedding, then it is unlikely your dog will suffocate under the covers.

But if you have a short-snouted breed, your dog is very young or very old, you have lots of bedding on your bed, you live somewhere hot, and you’re a heavy sleeper, then yes, there may be a risk your dog could get smothered in the night.

How Can I Get My Dog Out Of My Bed?

If you think that co-sleeping is not the right option for you and Fido, and you now find yourself in a situation where you have to break the habit, it can be done with some training, patience, and reassurance.

Here are some options you may wish to explore:

  • A Crate In Your Home –

A crate is basically an appropriately-sized cage with bedding on the bottom that the dog is taught to think of as their little safe haven. Some people swear by them. You can read up on crate training here.

  • A Dog Bed In The Laundry – 

With this option, at least the dog is still indoors if you live somewhere that has extreme weather/temperatures. You can get advice about how to do this here. Just be prepared that in the early phase, your dog may want to rip up their bedding out to offset their anxiety at the change in bedtime routine – so invest in a dog bed that is impervious to destruction, like the Bedsure.

  • A Kennel Outdoors-

Decide if this is the right option for you and your dog here. Some people are dead against this, given that a dog wants to be with its pack. There are a few things to consider first, for example, your dog’s temperament, physical attributes, and age, and the weather where you live. For example, you would not leave a Husky puppy outside all day and night in Summer.

Some dogs have a preference for outdoor sleeping. My cattle dog loves it, she won’t come inside at night no matter how much I plead with her!

At the end of the day, there is no ‘one size fits all solution to dogs and bedtime routines. It really depends on what best suits you and your dog. 

Be safe and happy snoozing!

Read more about: Why Is My Dog Losing Hair Only On Its Tail?

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