Many American households have pets. No matter if they have dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, or a different species, people in the United States like having a furry companion. According to a recent study, 68% of American households have them. Dogs are the most common type of animals, with around 48% of the total pet-owning households, and cats take second place, with about 38%. 10% of these households have freshwater fish, and 6% have birds. 46% of pet-owning households have multiple types of pets, and the most common is the dog and cat combination, at around 32%, whereas the combination of dogs and fish is at 11% out of the total multiple pet-owning homes. As you can see, dogs and cats are the most common pets.
Having a pet has many benefits, and it can have a positive impact on our quality of life. Pet owners tend to be healthier and happier compared to those who don’t own pets. According to studies, dog owners do more exercise compared to non-dog owners, which is most likely due to walking them a few times on a daily basis and playing with them. As you can see, pet ownership will not only make you feel happy, but it will also keep you healthy by helping you with weight maintenance. Walking your dog regularly will burn calories and help you shed off a few extra pounds, which will reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and other problems associated with weight.
Most animal owners regard their pets as valued family members, and it is not a surprise that sharing a bed with one is very widespread. Many people allow their pets to sleep with them, mostly dogs and cats, but the question remains – is sleeping with your pet a good idea? Is dog sleeping in bed bad for health? Once you make enough room for your furry friend, and it gets used to it, it may be very difficult to break the cycle. That’s why you need to do your research and explore the benefits and drawbacks of letting an animal sleep in your bed.
However, before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in the same bed as your pet, we need to discuss something else. Although sleeping with our furry companion is our solution to spend more quality time together, especially if we are at work most of the day, we should avoid it if we don’t find it comfortable. In case you have troubles sleeping comfortably throughout the night, it would be a much better idea to get a pet bed and place it on the floor in your bedroom.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that, if you are a parent, you shouldn’t let your young child sleep with the family pet. Children shouldn’t sleep alone with their animals if they can’t handle the responsibility. If they tend to ignore the animal’s needs, play roughly, pull a pet’s tail, or do similar things, it is a sign that your kid is simply not mature enough to let it sleep on his or her bed. Cat and dog sleeping with child is a bad idea in the case of immature kids.
Benefits of Letting Your Pet Sleep in Your Bed
Some of the positive sides of sleeping with a pet include:
Pets Provide Comfort
People who live alone or those who have a great bond with their pets are comforted by the presence of their furry companion nearby. Cuddling with animals, especially dogs, is a very comfortable and pleasant experience. In case you suffer from nightmares, or have a sleep disorder, sleeping in the same bed as your pet can benefit you as it will provide companionship, relaxation, and security that will aid your shut-eye.
Pets Can Improve Your Psychological Well-Being
Some of the psychological benefits that pets provide include an emotional bond, better mood, decreased loneliness, stress relief, a distraction from worries, and reduced depression. Pets can also improve our social interactions. Animals give us loyalty and unconditional love without question, and this type of connection is often hard to come by. When people dealing with depression receive this connection, it can help them get through tough times and overcome the problems that they encounter. Also, very often, those suffering from depression have troubles sleeping, and a pet’s presence can alleviate this. Allowing your pet to sleep in your bed can also help relieve you of stress. Many people can’t seem to fall asleep in the evening because of all the stress that they are facing. Having a pet nearby provides relief from stress, and it makes sense to have your pets around at night too. As a result, if they are close to you, you will be able to relax, which will have a positive impact on your quality and duration of sleep.
Pets Give Us Warmth
Most people love the sense of warmth while sleeping, which explains why we use comforters and blankets. Many individuals can’t fall asleep without a blanket. Luckily, pets are comfy creatures, have warm bodies, and tend to curl up as close to owners as possible, and in a way, they act as a small bed radiator. Although something like this may not be ideal during the summer, it is perfect for other seasons, especially winter, and it is excellent for those who live in a cold climate as their animal’s warmth can feel fantastic.
You Will Feel Safe
Another benefit of sleeping in the same bed, or at least in the same room as your pet is that you will feel much safer. People are most vulnerable when they are sleeping because they have no idea what is going on around them. It is especially true for those who are not awoken easily by different disruptions. However, if you have another presence watching over you while you are sleeping, you will feel safe. This increased sense of security especially applies to sleeping with dogs. Dogs have a sense of protection and excellent hearing, and if they notice an intruder or hear something strange, they will start barking and warn you about the potential danger. It is crucial to keep in mind that most break-ins happen during early morning or late at night, which is when most people are asleep. Luckily, thanks to your furry friend, you will know if something is wrong.
It Will Be Easier to Get Up in the Morning
Let’s face it, around half of us are morning people and can get up early with ease, while the other half are not this type. If you fall into this second category, you probably hate the sound of an alarm clock and don’t look forward to getting up early in the morning. Hitting the snooze button is a favorite activity of most people of this type, and they tend to stay in bed for as long as possible. They want to rest in bed until it is about time to get up and get ready for work. If you are one of them, sleeping with a furry friend can help you. Pets play a vital role in motivating you to get out of the bed. Very often, dogs will lick you, put their paws on you, or try something else to wake you up as soon as they are ready to go outside to pee, and you will need to leave your bed. Something like this will give you the motivation to kick off the covers unless you want them to make a mess in your bedroom, and get outside instead of lying in your bed until the last moment.
You Will Bond With Your Pet
Some animals, especially dogs, love sleeping in a pile or alongside their owners. Sleeping in the same bed as your dog will bond you. Animal owners want to make their pets happy, and one of the ways to do so is to allow them to rest in a bed. Your pet will want to be as close to you as possible almost all the time, and if you allow them this, it will strengthen the bond between you.
As you can see, there are several reasons why people share their bed with pets. It can be very beneficial both to animals and owners. However, something like this can also have its drawbacks.
Disadvantages of Sharing a Bed with Your Pet
Some of the dangers of sleeping with dogs and other pets include:
You May Sneeze a Lot
Some people own a pet although they have allergies. If you have allergies, you shouldn’t even have a pet, but if you do, sleeping with it is something that you should definitely avoid. However, even if you don’t have allergies at first, it doesn’t mean that you won’t develop them at some point. If you have been allowing your cat or dog to sleep in your bed for a long time, and all of a sudden you can’t handle dandruff, you should break this habit. In this case, sleeping with cats, dogs, and other animals can be quite unpleasant.
You are at Risk of Parasites
Although letting your pet sleep in your bed brings health benefits, it also has certain health risks. Of course, it only happens if you don’t take the necessary steps to keep your pet healthy. Sometimes, animals have ticks, fleas, different worms, and other parasites, and if you let them rest in your bed, you are at risk of all these parasites ending up in your bedroom. If you are wondering “what if my dog sleeps with me and has fleas?” the answer is – your pet should stay out of the bedroom. Luckily, you can avoid it by taking your pet to regular vet visits and making sure it is parasite-free.
They May Sleep on Your Face
This disadvantage applies to cats as they often find weird places for resting. Sometimes, cats find the perfect sleeping spot right on the head of their owner. If it is not possible, they may at least try to sleep as close to your head as possible. In some way, it is cute that they want to sleep next to you, but it is not pleasant to wake up with a cat on your head.
Accidents are Possible
Sometimes, pets can pee on the bed, especially if they are still young and don’t know what they should and shouldn’t do. The downside of sleeping with your puppy is that they are prone to peeing, but it can also happen to older dogs and other types of pets as they get closer to the senior animal age. They may not be able to hold it if they are old, and as a result, accidents may happen. Also, dogs are occasionally prone to throwing up, which is another thing that you don’t want to wake up to in the morning. However, keep in mind that these things don’t happen very often. Many animals have never peed in the bed.
It Can Affect Your Intimacy
Another disadvantage is that it can contribute to marital difficulties. If your spouse doesn’t want to share a bed with a pet, you need to consider his or her wishes. Also, if you let your pet sleep in the bed, it can have an adverse impact on your intimacy. Proximity and physical touch are vital when it comes to maintaining the connection as a couple and being intimate. If your pet sleeps between you two, it will increase the distance between you and your spouse. However, you can avoid this problem by letting your cat, dog, or a different animal to sleep at the bottom of the bed, or on one side, but never between you and your partner.
Now that you know more about the benefits and drawbacks of letting a pet sleep in your bed, it is time to make a decision. However, most pet owners will continue to sleep with their furry companion, no matter the potential disadvantages.
Useful Tips for Sleeping with a Pet
If you decide to let your pet sleep in your bed anyway, here are some tips that can help you:
- Set the Rules – It is vital to establish some rules before letting a family pet in your bed. You can determine which part of the bed you plan to let your beloved pet sleep on, and make sure that they don’t rest on other areas of the bed.
- Create a Schedule – If you want to sleep comfortably throughout the night, you need to create a schedule and stick to it. Your pet should know when it is time to play, eat, and exercise, and that night is for sleeping only. That way, you won’t have to worry that you will be awoken to engage in a play session. Additionally, you should make a potty run close to your bedtime so that your pet doesn’t have to go during the night.
- Get the Right Mattress – In case you want your dog or cat to sleep in the same bed, you need the right mattress that is large enough for all humans and animals. Qualities that you should look for are limited motion transfer and excellent edge support. Latex mattresses and memory foam models are the best choices.
- Don’t Let Your Pets Sleep Under the Covers – If you decide to share your bed with a furry companion, you need to keep them above the covers.
Renata is an economist who has always had a passion for writing. She is a dog lover, Netflix addict and a sleepaholic. When she is not busy doing sleep research, she spends her time reading books, hiking and playing video games.