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Nothing is sweeter than your tiny dog curling up close to you so you can hear every sigh, snort and snore as you fall asleep. But it’s hard to truly enjoy it when you’re worried about rolling over and crushing your pup in your sleep, or if you’re concerned that she’ll get trapped under the covers and won’t be able to find her way up for air.

At first, I wanted Matilda to sleep in a crate for these very reasons, but she had other plans. Now that she’s three years old, she has spent most nights sleeping with me. We both learned how to safely sleep together without any risk of danger.

Teach Your Pup To Sleep By Your Chest

When Matilda was a puppy, she always crawled to the bottom of the covers, by my legs, to find the warmest spots. Small dogs love warm, cozy places and will tunnel to the depths of your duvet to find the best spot.

Simply bring your dog up by your chest, and cover her with the blanket so she’s still able to burrow.

That’s all you have to do. Eventually, she’ll choose to sleep in the correct spot to avoid being woken up and moved.

Sleep with a small dog without crushing them

Create A Safe Space

Your dog can break their leg if they fall off the bed. If your bed is against a wall, you can encourage your dog to stay close to the wall, not the edge.

But if you’re a heavy sleeper, being close to the wall could mean that your dog does not have a means to escape if you roll to close to her. You may want to leave the edge of the bed available, and have some soft doggy steps, some pillows or blankets at the side of the bed for your dog to land on.

You can also keep a blanket or dog bed on top of your bed so your dog always lays in the same spot, rather than randomly roaming around your bed.

Instinctive Check-Ins

When you first start sleeping with your dog, it’s necessary to check on her. Reach out a hand to touch her head, or lift the covers so you can see where she’s sleeping.

If you do this enough, eventually you’ll develop an instinct, asking yourself, “where is my dog?” before you get into bed, every few minutes if you’re hanging out in bed on your phone, and before you drift off to sleep.

You’ll soon start to notice your dog’s sleeping habits. Though you may encourage her to sleep by your chest, her favorite spot might be behind your legs or on, around or under your butt – yes, dogs love sleeping on butts – and that might work out well for you if you find that you don’t have to worry about accidentally kicking her. 

Your Personal Sleeping Style

Some people believe that the way you sleep indicates your personality. If you sleep like a starfish, you’re outgoing, if you sleep in the fetal position, you’re introverted.

Well, your sleeping style also indicates whether you can safely sleep with a small dog.

The fetal position is great because you can curl around your pup like a mama dog.

Sleeping on your back means your dog can curl up at your neck or sleep on your chest.

After a few months, or even sooner, you and your dog can match your sleeping styles. Your dog becomes like an extra body part. They’ll generally sleep in the same spot, and you’ll always know where they are. Something will feel “off” if they’re not in their spot.


Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.