My dog often finds her way into my room and into my bed. She’s well behaved enough to wait for an invitation, and I can never say no. She looks so small beside my large bed, I can’t help but wonder about her falling.
Would it hurt her if she fell off the bed? Is falling off the bed a problem for dogs? I decided to do some research to find answers to these questions. I needed to know if it was safe for my precious pooch to sleep next to me.
Why does my dog keep falling off the bed?
Some dogs seem prone to falling off the bed. Depending on the size of the dog and the bed, this can be comical or concerning. It can also interrupt your sleep. After all, you will likely wake up when your canine companion hits the floor. There are several reasons why your dog might fall off the bed.
I must confess, I’ve fallen out of my bed a few times. I move around, changing positions without actually being awake. Once in awhile, I move the wrong way and find myself in the floor.
This can also happen to your dog. They get up to change their sleeping position, and end up falling off the bed. This is particularly common when they try to roll over. Although they are awake, they may not be aware of where the edge of the bed is. They roll over, and right into the floor.
Dreams (moving in sleep)
Just like humans, dogs dream. Both dogs and humans have a part of the brain that tells the muscles to relax when we are asleep. This typically prevents us from moving around, but it isn’t a perfect system.
Some humans have a problem with sleep walking. Their dream mind tells their body to move, and their physical body does. The switch that turns the body off isn’t working correctly.
The same thing can happen to your pooch. You may notice your dog whining, twitching, and even kicking their legs in their sleep. If your dog’s off switch isn’t properly activated, they may move around even more when dreaming.
This can easily lead them to fall off the bed. Movement while dreaming is more common in puppies and senior dogs. It’s theorized that the part of the brain that keeps the muscles from moving isn’t fully developed in puppies, and is less efficient in senior dogs.
Seizures are surprisingly common in dogs. They most often occur when the brain is in an excited or changing state. This includes meal and playtime, falling asleep, and waking up.
Seizures often cause uncontrolled muscle movements. These movements can cause your pooch to fall off the bed.
Seizures can occur due to heartworm disease, trauma, or fever. However, most seizures are idiopathic. They seem to be passed down from parent to offspring, but no clear cause has been identified.
If your dog has frequent seizures, they may need medication to manage them. Seizures look scary to us, but they aren’t usually harmful to your dog. Seizures lasting more than a few minutes or occurring in clusters do pose a risk to your pooch’s health, however.
Arthritis is common in senior dogs. It’s very similar to arthritis in humans. Your dog will experience pain, swelling, and stiff joints. Movements are stiff, particularly when they first wake up. As they get up and begin moving, the stiffness gets better.
These stiff joints can cause your dog to fall out of bed. They wake up and attempt to stand, or jump off the bed, but end up falling because their body isn’t working properly.
The vestibular system is responsible for your dog’s balance. If there’s a problem with the vestibular system, your dog will have a hard time balancing. They may stumble, fall, and run into objects. This lack of balance makes them likely to fall off the bed.
Other symptoms of vestibular disorders include head tilting, vomiting, lack of coordination, and circling in one direction.
Vestibular disease can occur due to an ear infection, tumor, or as a side effect of medication. However, in most cases, the cause is unknown. It typically resolves itself in a few weeks, but some dogs will have lasting vestibular difficulty.
Attempting to Get Off the Bed
Sometimes dogs fall trying to get off the bed. If you have a small dog and a tall bed, this may be why they fall. It’s possible they are attempting to jump down, but that the height is too high for them.
Wrapped in Covers
Some dogs love to burrow under the covers. It makes them feel cozy and secure. This can make for an adorable bed partner, but getting up can be problematic. When under the covers, your dog may not be aware of the edge of the bed.
It’s also possible that they can’t move properly because they are tangled in the covers. They may fall off the bed trying to get themselves free of the blankets.
Blindness can occur in dogs, just as it can in humans. It can be caused by old age, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal degeneration.
If your dog begins losing their sight, they may fall off the bed because they can’t see where the edge of the bed is.
If your dog is going blind, falling off the bed won’t be the only sign. They may lose their balance frequently, or run into objects. They may also seem disoriented or want to be near you more than usual.
You may also notice their eyes looking cloudy. Some dogs will paw at their eyes when losing their sight.
If your dog is going blind, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes to support them. You’ll also need to visit the vet to diagnose the cause of the blindness.
How to keep my dog from falling off the bed?
If you are concerned about your dog falling off the bed, you don’t have to give up sleeping with them. There are some steps you can take to keep your pooch in the bed.
Get Them a Bed
You don’t have to force your pooch to sleep in their own bed, but it’s a good idea to provide them with one. Then, they can decide if they want to sleep with you or in their own bed. It also gives them a place to nap when you aren’t in the bed.
Dog beds are great for dogs with conditions like arthritis, because they provide softness and support.
You can encourage your pooch to sleep in their bed by placing a blanket or a towel you’ve slept with in their bed. This gives the bed your scent. It can also be helpful to place their bed near yours.
Move the Bed
If your bed isn’t against the wall, consider moving it to this position. This will keep your dog from falling off that side of the bed. Then, you can put them next to the wall. You’ll be sleeping on the open side of the bed, making it difficult for them to fall off.
Use a Headboard and Footboard
If your bed doesn’t have a headboard and footboard, adding them will reduce the odds of your dog falling off the bed.
Use a Bed Rail
If placing your bed against the wall isn’t an option, you can also use a bed rail. A safety bed rail designed for children will also work well for your pooch.
If your bed is against the wall, you can add the rail to the open side if you feel it’s necessary.
Some owners decide to create a soft landing area in case their pooch tumbles off the bed. You can do this with pillows, a mattress, or an air mattress. You’ll simply need something soft in the area where your dog will land if they do fall.
How likely is a dog to hurt themselves falling off the bed?
How likely your dog is to hurt themselves if they fall off the bed depends on a few factors. The first is how high your bed is. Secondly, the size of your dog also makes a difference. Lastly, the age and health of your dog must be considered.
The most common injuries from a fall are broken bones. If your dog hits their head, they can get a concussion. Falls, even short ones, can also cause internal injuries.
There’s a big difference between a bed 6 inches off the ground vs. 1 1/2 feet off the ground. Most dogs will not be injured falling from either height, but the odds do go up the higher the bed is.
When considering bed height, remember to count the mattress. The height from the floor to the top of your bed is the height that your dog will fall from if they fall off the bed.
The Size of the Dog
The size of the dog has quite an impact on how likely they are to be injured in a fall. This is likely because inbreeding is common with small breeds, particularly toy breeds. They have weaker bones, and are at a higher risk of health conditions.
Large dogs have their fair share of joint issues, but they are much less likely to be injured falling off the bed. Medium dogs are at a lower risk of injury from a short fall as well.
Age and Health
Puppies are growing, and still fragile. Older dogs have bone deterioration, which makes them more likely to break bones. They are at the highest risk of injury from falling off the bed.