Puppy Love

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New research suggests women may sleep better with dogs in the bed rather than with human partners

Valentine's Day Labrador Puppy Dog Holding HeartA dog may be a man’s best friend, but a dog is a woman’s best sleeping companion, according to a study.

The study, published in Anthrozoös and conducted by Christy L. Hoffman, associate professor and anthrozoology program director of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, analyzed survey data from 962 American women. Of those women, 55% shared their bed with at least one dog and 31% with at least one cat. Fifty-seven percent also shared their bed with another human.

Of all those bedfellows, dogs provided the most comfort and least amount of disruption, Hoffman found. Dogs stayed on the bed most of the night while cats tended to wander off. Dogs also adapted more readily to their humans’ sleep and wake schedules.

“We do not yet have concrete answers as to why participants rated dog bed partners so highly, but we have some ideas for why this may be,” Hoffman said in a Psychology Today interview published Nov. 29. “Some dog owners make take solace in the thought that their dog will alert them in the case of an intruder or other type of emergency; furthermore, a dog’s bark may deter a potential intruder. A cat is less likely to take on this role and so may not provide a sense of security in the same way a dog might.”