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The Pros and Cons of Sleeping with Pets

Jan 22 featured image.jpgWHEN YOUR DOG or cat jumps onto your bed, curls up against you, sighs in comfort, and then looks up at you…how can you say “no” to those loving eyes?

Should you say no?

There are advantages and disadvantages to sharing your bed with your pet, and only you can decide if it’s worth it. Learn whether having a cat or dog sleep in bed with you is the right choice for you or those you love.

The Advantages of Sharing Bed with Dog or Other Pet

Sleeping with your furry loved ones can be advantageous to both you and your pet. Let’s first discuss how the pet owner benefits from co-sleeping with pets.

A recent Mayo Clinic study showed 41 percent of their patients who shared a bed with their pets found it beneficial. Pet owners felt an increased sense of security and relaxation when they slept with their pets.

Individuals with anxiety or recovering from an injury may find sleeping with a dog or cat reduces their level of stress. The breathing of the animal and rhythmic heart beat may help some to fall asleep.

woman sleeping with cat.jpgAnd then, there’s the warmth factor – the shared body heat of curling up and sleeping with your dog or cat is nothing to sneeze at during the cold winter months.

Those who foster animals or have an animal recovering from a health issue may find it helpful for the pet – and themselves – when the pet sleeps in bed with them. It allows them to be immediately alerted to any changing health conditions of the animal, and it makes them feel that they are providing comfort to a traumatized animal. Adding a ramp for a beloved pet may be the right choice for small breeds and those that may be susceptible to injuring their neck or spine.

Almost half of dog owners, and more than 60 percent of cat owners allow their pets to sleep with them in bed, according to a survey from the American Pet Products Association.

Disadvantages to Sleeping with Pets

As with sleeping with another person, sleeping with a pet may interfere with getting a proper night’s rest. Twenty percent of those surveyed shared that pets did interrupt their sleep. For those who suffer from insomnia or are light sleepers, having someone – whether two- or four-legged – move around on the bed can waken them up from sleep and may not be the best of ideas.

Other disadvantages to having pets in bed with you include:

    • Triggering allergic reactions in those with a sensitivity to animal dander, fur and dirt.
    • Introducing potential unwanted organisms, such as fleas and ticks, to the bed.
    • Potential for accidently injuring a pet while sleeping.
    • Having to wash sheets multiple times a week.

Those with allergies or asthma should consider whether or not it makes sense for them to sleep with their pets. Allergy shots may help some people build a tolerance. Infants should not sleep in beds with animals, and pets should go through an evaluation before being allowed to sleep with a child.

However, this information should not deter adult owners who choose to sleep with pets. Sharing a bed with a pet in a personal decision that may offer considerable benefits to those involved.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

If you are sleeping with pets, you are in good company. The majority of pet owners enjoy sharing their bed with pets. However, you should be aware of situations when sleeping with pets may not be in the best interest of yourself or someone you love. Make the right decision for you and your pet to enjoy a restorative night’s rest.

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