There’s a lot to think about when planning a nursery for your new baby.
We’re dog lovers ourselves. We’ve had beds for our pups in our daughters’ rooms off and on over the years. They like to be involved in the bedtime routine!
But is it the right choice for you?
Is it okay for a dog to sleep in the nursery? Should you put or leave a dog bed in the nursery?
A dog bed can often make a great addition to the nursery. It gives your dog a chance to join in the fun of taking care of baby and can prevent problems stemming from jealousy. Just be mindful of any allergies and be sure not to leave your dog in the nursery with the baby unsupervised.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of having a dog bed in the nursery to help you to make your own decision about what will work best for your family.
We’ll also suggest some alternatives to dog beds that you might not have considered yet.
How much time will you spend in the nursery?
Before we begin, let’s think carefully about when you’ll actually use the nursery once your new baby arrives.
This is something that many parents-to-be overestimate.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies share their parents’ bedroom for the first six to twelve months.
So you may find that you spend the daytime downstairs and the nighttime in your own bedroom, leaving barely any time spent in the nursery.
This could mean that the nursery can stay as your dog’s bedroom for the first year (although that might cause a stumbling block down the road when you have to move your dog out of the nursery to move your toddler in.)
It could also mean that there’s no need for a dog bed in the nursery at all.
If your dog currently sleeps in a crate in your bedroom — or, let’s be real, your bed — they may be happy to stay there.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of having a dog bed in the nursery, and some of the reasons you might avoid it.
Pros of having a dog bed in the nursery
Here are some reasons why you might want to buy a dog bed to keep in the babies room.
1. A dog bed is a comfy resting spot for a dog that follows you around the house
Dogs love to follow us around the house.
If you’re suddenly spending a lot of time in the baby’s bedroom, perhaps napping on a daybed in the nursery, you’ll want your dog to be comfortable by your side, right?
If your pet is used to sleeping next to you, then banishing them from the room could lead to resentment and cause the dog to feel jealous of the baby.
Letting your dog sleep on the floor isn’t always an option either, particularly if you have wooden floors or an aging pet with stiff joints.
If you want your pooch to be comfortable as they rest beside you, a dog bed in the nursery will provide a comfortable spot for your four-legged friend to relax.
2. Being around dogs can help your baby’s immune system to develop
Studies have shown that babies who live with dogs have fewer colds and ear infections than babies who do not.
Exposing your children to just the right amount of bacteria can give the immune system a boost so that it’s ready to fight off microbes that may cause an infection.
So, the evidence suggests that having your dog and baby in the same room for prolonged periods of time can actually improve your child’s health.
3. Spending time with dogs may reduce the risk of pet allergies
Being allergic to dogs and cats is no fun at all, particularly for animal-loving kids.
But the good news is that scientific studies have shown that spending time with pets in the first year of life can actually reduce the risk of allergies later on.
The study authors noted that babies born by cesarian section seemed to benefit even more from having a pet around.
This could be because babies who do not travel through the birth canal miss out on some exposure to good bacteria at birth.
4. Kids who grow up around dogs and other pets show lower stress levels
Dogs have been shown to have a calming effect on almost all humans — even little tiny ones!
Encouraging your pup to spend lots of time with the baby, as that baby becomes a toddler and then a big kid, can have a whole host of developmental benefits.
Eventually, their bond may become incredibly strong, and your child can practice their nurturing side by helping to take care of the dog.
It all starts in the nursery!
Cons of having a dog bed in the nursery
That all sounds great, and it’ll definitely make your pooch happy!
But there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
1. It’s not recommended to leave a dog and a baby alone together
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that young children should never be left alone with a dog.
No matter how well you think you know your dog and however much you trust them, any dog can turn without warning.
And it’s not just dog bites that you need to be concerned with.
Letting your baby play with the dog, without tight supervision, could lead to an accidental scratch or other injury.
2. Your baby will still benefit from exposure to dogs without sharing a room with one
While several studies highlight the benefits of babies having contact with dogs, this doesn’t mean that your child and dog need to spend every moment together.
Your child will still get the same immunity boost and allergy risk reduction even if your dog sleeps downstairs!
Trust me, those dog germs and fur will get everywhere no matter what you do.
3. Dogs can worsen asthma and allergies
If your child shows any signs of respiratory issues or allergies, then you’ll certainly want to limit their exposure to pets.
Dog fur can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks in those that are prone to these conditions.
In this case, you’ll want to keep pets out of the nursery altogether and ensure that you vacuum the rest of the house regularly.
4. The dog may disturb your baby at night
Dogs aren’t always the quietest of sleepers. Some dogs snore, others shuffle and move about.
Some dogs even let out little barks and growls as they chase rabbits in their dreams.
Anything that wakes your baby up in the night will result in fewer hours of sleep for you. And in those first few months, you’ll be wanting every minute of sleep you can get.
So if you do get a dog bed for the nursery, it might be best not to let your puppy sleep in the baby’s room overnight — for your own sake.
Alternatives to nursery dog beds
A dog crate
If you want your dog and child to sleep in the same room but are concerned about the possibility of your baby coming to harm, then a dog cage or crate could be an option to consider.
Once you’ve locked your dog securely into the cage, you can be sure that it will be impossible for them to jump into the baby’s crib.
A thick rug
If you just want a comfy place for your dog to relax while you care for your baby, then perhaps a rug would be better than a dog bed?
Placed in the center of the room, a fluffy rug will be much more comfortable than the hard floor.
A beautiful rug can also make the nursery look warm and welcoming. Just be sure to clean it regularly, particularly once your baby starts to crawl.
If you have the space to play with, a small sofa can be a great piece of furniture to add to the nursery.
This will give you somewhere to sit while you rock your baby to sleep, and can also provide a comfy spot for a dog or cat to rest.
You may even wish to consider a sofa bed so that you have an extra place to accommodate any family members that come to visit.
While it’s not a good idea for dogs and babies to sleep alone in the same room together, many parents choose to place a dog bed in the nursery as a place for their pets to nap while they care for the baby.
Unless your child has specific allergies, a dog’s presence can be good for their mental and physical health and development!
It’s probably best, though, if your dog sleeps elsewhere overnight — like in a crate or your bed.
As for the nursery, some older dogs may require a proper orthopedic dog bed. However, many younger dogs will be happy to stretch out on a carpeted floor, rug, or sofa.
You may wish to consider one of these rather than having a dog bed in the nursery.
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Hope this helps!