In some households, it’s the norm to let our pets have full roam of the house and curl up in bed with us throughout the night. However, others are truly horrified at the thought of that.
So what’s right and wrong? Is it okay for us to let our beloved pets share our bed with us? We’ve examined some of the pros and cons of letting our canine pals share our beds.
- It’s comforting. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a little warm furry buddy to cuddle up with at night. For some people, having a pet in the bed can actually help them sleep better than they would without. In fact, a study conducted by the Centre of Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in the US found that 41 percent of participants claimed that they found it beneficial to sleep with their pet and it had no impact on their rest, compared to only 20 percent who found that their pets disrupted their sleep.
- Teaches obedience. Despite the common theories that allowing your pets to sit on your furniture or bed may cause some obedience and neediness issues, it may actually help teach your pets better obedience. Professional dog trainer and editor of the Whole Dog Journal, Pat Miller, says, “keep in mind that removing the dog from the bed doesn’t modify the bed-guarding behaviour; it only prevents the dog from having an opportunity to practice the behaviour.”
- Feel more secure. Having your pet there with you through the night can make you feel more safe and secure in your home. Knowing that your dog is there and alert can help make you feel a better sense of comfort and clarity, especially if you’re an easily stressed or anxious person.
- Enhance allergies and asthma. If you’re someone who suffers from allergies or asthma, having your dog curled up in your personal space throughout the night can escalate this, especially if your dog sheds a lot of hair.
- Disrupts your sleep. Despite the Mayo Clinic study mentioned above, 20 percent of people still found that their pets disrupted their sleep. Whether it’s because their dogs take up a lot of space with their legs stretched out or the dog is fidgeting, it’s still causing some owners to miss out on their precious sleep time. So really it’s up to you to determine what works for you and your pooch.
- Potentially unhygienic. Although it’s uncommon if your dog is healthy and bathed, the risk of catching a virus or bad bacteria is still there. The CDC reported that although the risk is minimal, “the risk of transmission of zoonotic agents [those transmitted from animal to human] by close contact between pets and their owners through bed sharing, kissing or licking is real and has been documented for life-threatening infections such as plague.”
It’s a divisive topic but overall it’s a matter of personal preference.
We would love to know your thoughts on this! Yes or no – do you allow your dog to share your bed?