Pros and cons of sharing your bed with your pet

According to various studies, more than 60% of pet owners allow their pets to share their beds with them at night. Some people consider it the ultimate treat, while others are simply not comfortable with it, for various reasons. So what is the right thing to do? Among the experts, there are those who are for this practice, and those who are against it. The decision is yours.

Why it’s okay for your pets to sleep in your bed

  1. Now that we are gripped in winter’s icy claws, this benefit of dogs is quite obvious – they are like living hot water bottles who are fantastic for keeping us warm, and it goes the other way around as well. Our pets get just as cold as we do, and they undoubtedly enjoy snuggling up in a warm bed with their favourite human.
  2. The presence of a pet helps us relax. Focusing on the steady breathing of a sleeping pet can go a long way in helping at those times when our minds refuse to switch off. Simply listening to your pet is likely to soon have you dozing off as well.
  3. We are living in a society that is riddled with crime. Having your dog right there on the bed with you can give you a sense of security. A dog who is sleeping outside does not really pose a threat to potential criminals, as sadly, they can simply be poisoned. However, your dog who is sleeping with you is safe, and even if he buries himself under the blankets and you sleep with a closed door, your dog’s hearing is still good enough to immediately hear when something is not right. This allows you to sleep knowing that your best friend will alert you to someone trying to invade your property.
  4. Having our pets with us simply makes us happy. Research has shown that touching our pets releases oxytocin in our brains. This is a hormone that is associated with feelings of calm and closeness.

Why it’s NOT okay for your pets to sleep in your bed

  1. Many people who sleep with their pets will be able to identify with the feeling of waking up groggy, with sore muscles. Unfortunately, once our pets are allowed to sleep in our beds, they don’t care much about our comfort! In a study that was done by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Centre it was found that 53% of the participants indicated that their pets disturbed their sleep. This is unhealthy as a lack of sleep causes you to struggle to concentrate, affects your memory and is bad for your health.
  2. Some doctors warn that individuals who have suppressed immune systems, such as those who are HIV-positive, transplant recipients and patients who are receiving chemotherapy, are more likely to become ill if they share their beds with their pets.
  3. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, having your pet sleep with you might make you feel even worse. In fact, it is recommended that if you suffer from these conditions, your pets should not be allowed in your bedroom at all. Pet allergies are caused by dander (skin cells shed by the animal, which are too small to see with the naked eye). Therefore, an effort to keep your bedroom free of dander will assist in making you feel more comfortable.
  4. If you are sharing your bed with a human partner, your pet can come in between the two of you – literally. Physical contact with your loved one is important in any relationship; therefore, if you want to allow your pet into your bed, it is vital that both partners are comfortable with the arrangement.

Safety tips for sharing your bed with your pet

If both you and your pets are healthy, there shouldn’t be health concerns about sleeping alongside your pet.

  • Be sure to keep up with your pet’s annual vet checks and do not hesitate to take your pet to the vet if he does not look well.
  • Keep up with your pet’s tick and flea programme, as well as his deworming schedule. You do not want to wake up with fleas!
  • Groom your pet as required to ensure that he stays clean.
  • Also practise good hygiene in your bedroom. Wash your bedding on a regular basis. If your pet has an ‘accident’ in your room during the night, properly clean and disinfect the area.

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