If there is one thing to celebrate in the recent lockdowns that have gripped Australia, it is the time we can now enjoy ourselves with our beloved pets. While most animal experts warn you about the separation anxiety your pooch can have, a fear that you should work off well if you want to have a quiet night or go out of the house without hearing her scream, damn murder two blocks away. Few experts will warn you, however, that in most cases the owner has separation anxiety – not the pet, or at least that’s how we feel when we go to work and have the warmth of a four-legged heartbeat patiently wait for our feet. Fortunately, the lockdown has given us back our time and we can spend our days curled up with our dogs.
Now dog owners can look forward to it again. Not that we needed another excuse as to why we love sleeping with our beloved animals, but it turns out that research can now substantiate our inability to set boundaries. Sleeping with a dog can actually be good for your mental health, according to canine behaviorist Karen Barrett. The trick is, all you have to do is determine that it is actually your bed, not yours.
â€œWhen the dog sleeps on your head, it thinks it is taller than you and that is a problem. But when you lie next to you there is an oxytocin release that encourages us to cuddle. It’s also a basic genetic instinct for survival, “Barrett said in an interview with the Daily telegraph.
“If you have single or elderly people whose partners have passed away, it is comforting to have a dog that sleeps on the bed,” she added. We didn’t need any further evidence, but dogs really are man’s best friend.
The results correlate with previous research at Canisius College in Buffalo, in which 962 American women were asked about their sleeping habits. 57 percent slept with someone else, 31 percent shared their cat and 55 percent slept with a dog lying next to them. Of all of them, it was those who slept next to their dogs who were most likely to sleep well. The study also found that those who slept next to their pooch were more likely to go to bed earlier and wake up from their sleep earlier as well.
“Compared to human bed partners, dogs that slept in the owner’s bed were perceived as less disruptive to sleep and were associated with a greater sense of comfort and security,” the study authors say.