Ask Wirecutter: Should I Kick My Dog Out of My Bedroom at Night?

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Ask Wirecutter, an advice column written by Annemarie Conte, explores the best approaches to buying, using, and maintaining stuff. Email your biggest product-related problems to askwirecutter@wirecutter.com.

My partner loves having our dog, Jim, sleep in the bedroom with us, but my sleep is completely disrupted by licking, farting, and Jim’s butt in my face. My partner tends to sleep right through it and doesn’t seem to mind how quickly our bedding gets dirty. Is there any common ground?

Whether it’s one partner’s snoring, completely different sleep schedules, or an old hound whose toots clear a room, divergent sleeping habits can make sharing a bed nearly impossible. Thankfully, though, this pooch-induced sleep incompatibility can be managed to provide a restful night for everyone involved. Here’s how:

Mask annoying noises

The subject of obnoxious sounds came up in an Ask Wirecutter column about someone being kept awake by whiny humidifier noises. Our white-noise machine pick (which actually produces a range of sounds including white, pink, brown, and fan sounds) can likely give you some relief by masking any obnoxious dog (or human) noises that wake you up. And if you don’t already, remove your dog’s collar to prevent the jingle-jangle of tags as Jim shifts position.

You can also consider earplugs, like our pick: Mack’s Slim Fit Soft Foam Earplugs.

Set boundaries

The best thing I ever did was not invite my dog onto my bed. He gets every other soft surface in the house, but my Leesa Hybrid (obsessed — had to tell you) is a dog-free zone. This has multiple benefits, like my sheets not smelling like salty dog paws or getting wet spots from his constant licking. Our Wirecutter dog owners on staff recommend placing a pillow or nice dog bed at the foot of your human bed for maximum comfort and using lots of positive reinforcement to get your pup to settle there for the night. You can slowly work the bed farther and farther away from your own if you want to create even more physical and mental distance.

Finding the right dog bed is key, so if our top-pick Majestic Pet Suede Bagel Dog Bed isn’t what Jim loves, try others we recommend in our guide to dog beds until you find the right fit.

If your dog is crate trained, you can allow them to chill on the bed until bedtime, then politely move them off to the crate. (Compromise, we love it.) And if your partner misses having something to snuggle, might we recommend a body pillow?

Take extra care with your bedding

There’s no getting around it. Dogs are stinky. If you insist on keeping an animal in your bed, you can do several things to help mitigate it, says senior staff writer Jackie Reeve, who wrote about how to prevent pets from destroying your bedding.

Upgrade your bed

If your mattress has a lot of bounce and you’re disturbed by your partner or your pet moving around, a memory-foam mattress will help alleviate that. “All memory-foam mattresses offer better motion isolation than innerspring or hybrid ones, which tend to be more bouncy and jiggly,” says senior editor Courtney Schley.

In our testing, Costco’s Novaform ComfortGrande memory-foam mattress offered better motion isolation than many pricier mattresses, and the queen size frequently goes on sale for about $500. If you want to peruse all of your options, our foam-mattress buying guide can help you figure out what works best for you.

While extreme, you can also consider moving up a mattress size if you have the space. Even 10-pound chihuahuas seem like mastiffs in the middle of the night. If you’re in a full, move up to a queen; a queen can upgrade to a king if you have the room. And if you’re already in a king (first of all, I am jealous), I hear California kings are the long-distance relationship of bedtime. A California king is longer but narrower than a regular king bed, so it would be ideal if you want your pup to sleep at the foot of your mattress.

This, of course, is a long-term investment in this problem, as upgrading your mattress requires a new bed frame, bedding, and all the rest. That’s a lot of money to throw at a little pup, but then again, a good night’s sleep is often worth it.

Consider separate rooms

Let’s say none of these options works for the two of you. It may be time to try the simplest solution of all. If you’re fortunate enough to have the space and it makes your nights better, there may be good reason to split up at night. It’s not the most “romantic” notion, but the idea that you absolutely have to sleep in the same bed as your partner every night is a bit dated anyhow, especially when the bed is this crowded.

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