Community//

Sleeping With Your Furry Friend

Good or Bad?

Did you know that 98% of pet owners consider their furry friend family? It’s not surprising considering we dress our pets, send them to daycare and even feed them human food. But would you let your fur baby sleep with you?

A study done by the American Kennel Club (AKC) found that almost half of respondents allow their dog in bed at night… While snuggling with your pup isn’t for everyone, research shows sleeping with your pet might actually have a positive psychological impact on you. However, if you are on the fence about sharing a bed with your four-legged friend, you might consider these seven things:

Conflicts to Consider

1. Hygiene

For many owners, hygiene is often a concern when allowing your pet into bed. Think about it. Your furry friend spent a better part of their day outside rolling around in the grass, digging through the dirt and poking their nose who knows where.

If you are considering letting your pet hop into bed with you, you may want to think about where they were before hopping on your crisp, white duvet…

2. Asthma and Allergies

If your pet makes it past the hygiene test, next think about your personal allergies. No matter how cute those big puppy eyes are, your pet probably sheds.

If you have allergies or asthma induced by pet fur, allowing your pet into your room, let alone your bed, is of concern. By doing so, your bedroom becomes an incubator for all types of allergy triggers. If your cat or dog is hypoallergenic, the chances of allergies and asthma being affected is mitigated. However, keep in mind not all hypoallergenic animals are completely foolproof to allergies and breathing complications.

3. Fleas and Ticks

You may want to take into account whether or not your dog or cat spends a majority of their time outside, particularly near wooded areas. Apart from a couple months in the winter, fleas and ticks are almost always active. Although, it’s very unlikely for fleas to use humans as breeding vessels you probably don’t want your mattress to become their next home either. On the other hand, ticks are not as shy as fleas when it comes to introducing themselves to humans. Ticks are commonly known for carrying Lyme disease, and in the US, they also have the capacity to carry a variety of other blood-borne pathogens. This is also your friendly reminder to keep up with your flea and tick prescriptions and scheduled regiment.

4. Disease Transmission

Simply put, the likelihood of infecting or become infected with an illness from your pet is very rare, although, not completely unheard of says the Center for Disease Control (CDC). However, your furry friend could be a carrier for illness. For instance, if you were ill, your pet could pass the illness onto other house members, even if they don’t become sick themselves.

5. Different Sleep Cycles

Humans are Monophasic sleepers. This means we have one sleep cycle a day ranging from 7-9 hours. By contrast, dogs are polyphasic sleepers. In other words, they have more than two sleep cycles throughout the day. Because dogs have more frequent sleep cycles than humans, they are able to achieve rapid eye movement (REM) sleep quicker; thus, dogs are more alert to sound, lighter in sleep, and more frequent in waking. Previous studies with the AKC have shown that owners reported greater sleep disturbances while sleeping with their pet in contrast to owners who don’t.

Positives

1. Relaxation

While co-sleeping with pets can cause sleep disturbances, they can also help alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of security. Remember, dogs are light sleepers and will alert you if anything is out of the ordinary. Dr. Carol Osborne a veterinarian, mentioned that a dog’s body temperature is warmer than humans, so for particularly cold nights, snuggling up with your dog has its benefit in relaxing. Osborne also states that sleeping with a pet is a great alternative to sleeping medication for individuals with insomnia.

Research also suggests that blood pressure is lowered while petting their furry friend, especially when it’s a pet that they love. Not only can snuggling with a pet reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure, but, can also improve our immune system.

2. Pet-Owner Bonding

Because many of us work throughout the day, that is missed time away from our favorite four-legged friend. Sleeping with your pet is a great opportunity for pet-owner bonding. There’s no better way to start out a morning than with a snuggle buddy.

Studies support that physical contact lowers anxiety in dogs. The best spots to pet a dog are on the chest, shoulders, and the base of the neck where the collar usually rests, along with the base of the tail, and chin. Hit these spots and your relationship will surely improve. There are, however, areas you want to avoid and actually induces stress in dogs. Areas include top of the head, ears, paws, legs, and muzzle. If you’ve been petting them in the stressful spots for some time, don’t be too concerned; some dogs come to understand those actions mean affection.

Conclusion

Ultimately, where your furry friend sleeps is entirely up to the owner. Unless you have allergies or asthma, the health consequences are minute.

If you’re still training a puppy, there is a certain importance to using a crate. Dogs will avoid soiling their “den,” so by using a crate, your puppy will learn to alert you when they need to go potty. Limiting a puppy’s exploration during the night will help lay down the rules of the house and nurture good habits. However, once your puppy has matured, most owners have found that the benefits of co-sleeping with their pet outweigh the consequences.

To avoid any disturbances throughout the night you may want to consider your sleeping arrangements to get the best possible experience. What better way to start your day off than next to your companion?  

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.