Sleeping With Your Pets – Is It Okay?

A lot of pet owners wouldn’t consider having their beloved dog or cat sleep anywhere but on their bed.  For others, it’s a guilty pleasure.  But is having your pet sleeping on your bed bad for you or your pet?

What’s great about sleeping with your pet?

Sleeping with your petsYou probably already know why it’s great to have that extra heartbeat on your bed.

  • Your dog or cat is part of your family and will help you to feel calmer, except if they are very active through the night, or if they steal the covers.
  • They can help keep your bed warm and comfortable on a cold night.
  • They provide security. If I hear a strange noise in the middle of the night, and my cat is still fast asleep, I don’t worry about it.  Alternatively, if my cat pricks up his ears and starts looking around, I look around too.
  • Your fur-baby will stop you from feeling lonely or depressed. I was still very sad when I went to bed in the evening after seeing “Marley and Me.”  I cried all over my cat, and it took a while for him to get dry again after I finally settled down.  He was there when I needed him.
  • A pet’s attention is a welcome remedy after a nightmare, especially for children. They can see and touch their pet, and they know that this is the real world and not that silly nightmare.

What’s not so great?

  1. If you are allergic to pets, it may be impossible to sleep with your dog or cat.  Depending on how allergic you are, these suggestions might help you to cope with pet dander.
  • Vacuum your bedroom regularly and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
  • Use an anti-allergenic surface spray
  • Get rid of the clutter in your bedroom; pet dander has a tendency to build up on objects such as books and ornaments
  1. If your immune system is not working quite as it should, it is not a good idea to have your pets sleeping on the bed.  If you are in the following situations, check with your doctor.  You may need to keep the bedroom door closed on a temporary or permanent basis.
  • You are having chemotherapy
  • You are diabetic
  • You just had surgery
  • You are a transplant recipient
  1. If you suffer from insomnia and your pet is active with snoring, scratching or asking for a pat during the night, your quality of sleep will be poor.  Or maybe your beloved but active pet is the reason for your insomnia?
  2. A pet on your bed quite often acts as an alarm clock.  It sounds like a lovely way to wake up to me, but if you want to sleep in, this may be a problem.
  3. After spending all night with you, it could cause separation anxiety for your dog if you then proceed to disappear all day by going out to work.
  4. A big dog usually means you will be sleeping on the edge of the bed.
  5. Your pet sleeping on the bed might be awkward when you want to be intimate with your partner. Some people need to remove their pet from the bed or the room, while some can totally ignore them.  If you need to remove them, you could give them a treat to distract them.
  6. Your snuggle-time is very important, with your partner that is. Discourage your pet from sleeping between you to preserve your relationship.

Sleeping with your petDoggy tips

Some trainers discourage owners from sleeping with their dogs because it makes it tougher for you to establish your authority in the pack.  It would be advisable to wait to introduce sleeping on the bed until training is complete and they are completely socialized.

If there are behavioral issues such as growling or dominance aggression aimed at you or your partner, then their sleeping on the bed is a bad idea.  Perhaps you could train your dog to sleep in their own bed in your bedroom.  Make it fun for them to be in their bed.  Do not give them positive reinforcement if they jump on your bed.  Click here for tips about training your dog to stay off your bed.

Safety tips

  • Prevent fleas or ticks by giving your pet a monthly treatment. Fleas and ticks contain bacteria that may be passed onto humans.
  • Keep your pet’s vaccines up to date.
  • After patting or romping with your pet, wash your hands and/or face to remove pet dander and saliva
  • Give your dog a regular bath

Getting rid of bedbugs

Our pets are members of our family.  Don’t feel guilty about letting them sleep on the bed, as long as you follow these tips.

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