Have you ever wondered, “Should I let my Shih Tzu sleep with me?” It’s a great question and one I’ve been thinking about now that my Shih Tzus are older. They have always slept in the bed with me, but I’m starting to think that was a mistake.
The Pros and Cons of Having Your Shih Tzu Sleep With You
From the time my two Shih Tzus were housebroken, they have slept in the bed with me. It always seemed to make sense to me to do so.
It allowed them to have close contact with me for 8 hours and it made them feel safe and secure.
When it was only Truman (you can learn more about Truman and Sammy here) it wasn’t so bad. He would pick a spot, usually near the foot of the bed on the opposite side as me, and lay down and sleep the night through.
Then Sammy joined the family and things got a little more difficult. At first, she would lay next to me on the inside and that was fine.
Then things started to change.
Sammy decided she wanted to sleep right where my feet would normally go or on my legs. Then she decided she wanted to sleep next to me but on the spot where I would normally have my pillow and head.
Truman started to have some health issues as he got older and he moves around a lot during the night and makes a lot of noises that wake me up.
Sammy, as she has gotten older has a more difficult time holding her bladder and she wants down throughout the night.
Neither of my Shih Tzus sleeps through the night any longer and they wake me up every night at least once and sometimes three or four times a night.
This wasn’t the case when they were younger. As they say, old age isn’t for the faint of heart and that seems to be the case for Shih Tzus as well.
The problem is after years of sleeping on the bed with me, they expect to sleep there. If I made them sleep in their own little beds, they would be winning and crying all night trying to get me to put them up on the bed.
They would also feel as if they were being punished and I would hate that.
One last issue is that Truman’s balance isn’t what it used to be and he actually fell off the bed one night. Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt, but he could have been. My bed is pretty tall.
So, right now, as much as I love my Shih Tzus, I wish they weren’t sleeping with me, but I’m kind of stuck.
Even so, there are pros and cons to having your Shih Tzu sleep with you, so let’s take a look at them.
The Pros of Having Your Shih Tzu Sleep with You
While I’m having issues with my own Shih Tzus sleeping with me, there are some pros to having them do just that.
And in fact, according to the American Kennel Club, “…the majority of people surveyed by the AKC welcome the dog in their bed: 45%.”
1.You Will Have a Closer Bond with Your Shih Tzu
Your Shih Tzu loves you very much and wants to be near you. When you give them that eight hours each night to be next to you, it helps to strengthen your bond.
And because that bond is strong, it makes your Shih Tzu more loyal and can even help with training as they want to please you and make you happy.
There’s nothing better than a close bond with your furry friend.
2. Your Shih Tzu Will Help Keep You Warm on a Cold Winter Night
I live in Illinois, so the winters get pretty darn cold. Sammy will often want to sleep right up against me – her back on my back.
While it can feel like having a hot, ten-pound tumor attached to you in the summer, in the winter, it does warm up the bed and make things a lot more toasty.
So, it is a bit of a trade-off, with hot summers and all, but sleeping with your own little furry furnace is a real positive.
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3. Sleeping with Your Shih Tzu Can Be Good for Your Health
There have been plenty of studies that show that petting a dog can reduce depression and anxiety and even lower your heart rate. That’s one of the reasons why there are organizations that take dogs to nursing homes for the residents to interact with.
This is true as well for sleeping with your Shih Tzu. They can be a calming presence at night that will help you calm down and be less stressed at night and might even help you sleep better.
4. If You’re Nervous at Night You Might Feel Safer With Your Shih Tzu By Your Side
While it is true that your Shih Tzu doesn’t make a great attack dog due to their size, and most likely someone breaking into your house won’t see your little pouch as much of a threat, that doesn’t mean your Shih Tzu can’t make you feel safer at night.
Just being there so you are not alone can make a big difference.
Also, and I feel this is a more important reason, while your Shih Tzu can’t fight someone off, they can certainly let you know that someone is in your house that shouldn’t be there.
I know that’s true of my Truman. He would bark his head off if someone tried to break into the house, so at least I would have that warning and be able to act on it instead of just waking up with someone standing over my bed which is a terrifying notion.
5. You Might Sleep Better
It has been shown that the heartbeat and rhythmic breathing of your dog help you get to sleep easier and helps you get into a deeper sleep easier.
This is true as long as your Shih Tzu is a good sleeper and not keeping you awake all night long.
The Cons of Having Your Shih Tzu Sleep With You
There’s is always two sides to every coin, and that’s true here as well. You should consider these carefully before you make your decision whether or not to allow your Shih Tzu to sleep with you.
1.Once They Are Sleeping With You They Will Always Sleep With You
I mentioned this earlier. Once you make the decision to have your Shih Tzu sleep with you, this is not a decision you can change.
Once your Shih Tzu is used to sleeping on the bed, they will always expect to sleep on the bed. There is no going back.
You will end up losing more sleep if you start making your Shih Tzu sleep in their own bed or in a crate again. They will be truly unhappy and will make your nighttimes a struggle.
This is what I am facing with Truman and Sammy. They have spent too many years sleeping on the bed to go back to sleeping on the floor so now I’m the one not sleeping well.
2. Your Shih Tzu Can Keep You Awake All Night
Say goodbye to a good night’s sleep. Even if your Shih Tzu is younger and you aren’t having the issues I am now, you can still expect your Shih Tzu to snore, kick their legs, or make other noises throughout the night.
I’ve had a few kicks on my back over the years. This isn’t uncommon.
Not to mention, your Shih Tzu might want to change positions or start licking themselves in the middle of the night.
If you’re a light sleeper like me then this will wake you up.
3. If You Have Allergies Sleeping With Your Shih Tzu Can Make Them Worse
While you might not be allergic to your little puppy dog, they do carry other allergens on them such as pollen.
Not to mention if there are any dirt particles on their paws, that ends up in the bed with you as well. So, if they are dirty, your bed will be dirty.
You may find out that you have to take allergy medicine, so you can breathe at night if you let your Shih Tzu sleep with you.
4. Your Shih Tzu Becomes Too Possessive
Shih Tzus are truly a one person dog. They like everyone but will love only one person in the household.
What this means for sleeping is if your sleeping with another person, your Shih Tzu can become aggressive towards them. This could be shown through barking, growling, or even biting.
Also, your Shih Tzu feels they are protecting you, and what they feel is their territory, from this person coming into your bed.
This is not a behavior you should allow.
5. You Could Have an Accident
If your Shih Tzu is younger, even if they are housetrained, they could have an accident in the middle of the night.
This shouldn’t happen, but if you’re asleep and they can’t or don’t get your attention, then they could have a potty accident.
This can be a real issue as the urine will go into your mattress and that is a mess that is difficult to deal with.
Not to mention, Shih Tzus do vomit from time to time, and if it happens in the middle of the night, then you’re going to wake up in the morning with your bedspread and/or sheets covered in the nasty stuff.
Let me just say, I’ve been there and done that, and it isn’t any fun.
In the end, deciding whether or not to allow your Shih Tzu to sleep with you is a decision you will have to make for yourself.
For me, as difficult as it will be, when Sammy and Truman have passed and I get another Shih Tzu, they won’t be sleeping on the bed because why it was fine for a number of years, it has now turned into an issue for me.
(At least that’s what I’m saying now, but I may be hard-pressed to say no to a cute little face when the day comes.)
How Many Hours a Day Should a Shih Tzu Sleep?
A puppy will sleep around 14 hours per day while an adult Shih Tzu will sleep around 12 hours per day.
A senior Shih Tzu will sleep up to 20 hours per day.
As they say, it’s a dog’s life.
To Sum it All Up:
Whether or not to have your Shih Tzu sleep with you is a big decision and a life long decision. While sleeping with your Shih Tzu will create a stronger bond and can even help you sleep better if they are a good sleeper, if they are a bad sleeper, then you might have trouble.
Expect them to sneeze, snort, snore, and kick their legs all things that will keep you up at night.
This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu’s behavior. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.