Let’s face it – most pet owners love sleeping with their furry friends, even though most of us are aware of the potential risks associated with this choice. There is nothing better than cuddling your pet after a stressful day of work. At the same time, getting quality sleep is crucial for functioning normally. If you’ve ever wondered whether pets in the bed should be allowed, this article is for you. Apart from exploring some of the potential problems that can arise from having your pet in bed, we will also go over the benefits that come with sleeping next to your pet which we sometimes overlook.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Pet Sleep with You
If you’re on the fence about whether you should let your bed sleep with you at night, here are some of the most convincing reasons why that might not be the best idea.
Disturbances at Night
We all know that pets are light sleepers, it takes very little to disturb them and wake them up. There are some types of pets that are naturally more active at night, especially those who are younger. There are several reasons why your pet might wake you up in the middle of the night, the most common ones being hunger, hearing a strange noise from outside and barking, or simply needing to go outside. Regardless of what the reason might be, it’s rarely a pleasant experience.
If you constantly wake up in the middle of the night, you’re interfering with your REM sleep – the part of our sleeping cycle that’s responsible for the deep, restorative sleep which brings a plethora of benefits. At one point, you will undoubtedly notice the drawbacks of waking up in the middle of the night every day. If you’re someone who has trouble falling back asleep, you might find it increasingly harder to get back to sleep.
Needless to say, not all pets are restless throughout the night – some sleep soundly and only wake up in the morning. If this is an issue for you, consider purchasing a large, comfy bed for your pet and training them to sleep outside your bedroom. If it’s an option, you can allow your pet to sleep on your bed at the weekends, since you won’t have to worry about it disturbing your work schedule or affecting your energy levels at work.
Another potential risk that comes with sleeping with your pets is allergies. Pet allergies are some of the most common types of allergies, and having your pet in your bed is an easy way to ensure that you suffer from an allergic reaction, provided that you’re allergic to pets in the first place.
Some people can get away with having a pet in their home even if they’re allergic, but when it comes to allowing the pet in bed, things are much direr.
If you’re set on having your pet in your bed despite suffering from allergies, there are a few steps you can take to minimize your exposure to the allergens, such as training them to sleep at the bottom of the bed and protecting your mattress from direct exposure. Additionally, make sure you frequently wash your bedding and invest in a hypoallergenic duvet and pillowcase. If you keep noticing symptoms of an allergic reaction despite taking these precautions, it might be a sign to bring your pet’s bed in your bedroom and train them to sleep on it instead of your bed.
Having Pets in the Bed Might be Unhygienic
Dogs and cats carry some bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can easily be spread to your bed and to you. Additionally, if your pet is infected with fleas, they might transfer to you and cause certain diseases.
There are some things to keep in mind if you want to prevent these scenarios. To start with, always wash your pet if they go outside and get muddy or dirty, and make sure to regularly give them topical flea and tick treatments. Alternatively, you can purchase pet wipes and use them when you don’t have the time for a full wash.
We don’t associate our beloved pets with the risk of being injured, however, when we have them sleep next to us in the bed, it’s always a possibility regardless of how much your dog is trained.
If you accidentally hurt your dog in the middle of the night, there’s no guarantee that they won’t bite or scratch you, which is an important factor to consider before deciding whether you should allow pets in the bed.
Moreover, many people wake up in the middle of the night by themselves just to check if their pet is alright, which is bad news if you want to wake up energized and in a good mood.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many things you can do to minimize the risk of your pet falling off your bed or becoming aggressive while you sleep, apart from training them while they’re young.
The potential injuries from allowing your pet to sleep in your bed also extend to your pet. For instance, if your bed is too small or if your dog loves sleeping on the edge of the bed, you might risk them falling off the bed in the middle of the night, risking serious injuries in the process.
Dander refers to the proteins that are present in your dog’s skin and their saliva. While dander isn’t inherently dangerous, some people can be sensitive to it and even develop allergies.
Sadly, dander can easily spread from your pet’s body to your bedding. Washing your bedding regularly can significantly minimize the chances of you having any negative reactions to it, but it’s not a guarantee that you won’t suffer from any adverse effects. Apart from regular washing, you can also vacuum your mattress every once in a while and even air it out when the weather allows it.
Washing and brushing your pet regularly can significantly decrease the amount of dander that’s found in their skin. Remember, dander gets everywhere, not just your bed, so make sure you clean up after them regularly.
Benefits of Sleeping with Your Pet
It’s important to consider both sides of the coin when deciding whether it’s a good idea to have pets in the bed. After all, they’re a part of the family, so it makes sense why it’d be hard for you to say no to their pleading requests to jump in your bed at bedtime.
Pets Can Be a Source of Comfort
It will come as a surprise to no one to learn that pets can be an immense source of comfort for their owners. Whether they make you feel more secure in your home, or just the thought of having them next to you, allowing your pet to sleep in your bed can soothe loneliness and make you feel more secure. After all, some owners are separated from their pets for the majority of the day, and knowing that they will be reunited at night can bring a lot of comfort for the owner.
Pets Can Help With Mental Health
Anyone who has a pet can vouch for how incredible their effect on our mental health can be. Whether you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, having your pet next to you at night not only helps battle anxious thoughts, but it can also boost oxytocin – the love chemical, making us happier and healthier.
Some Owners Can Experience an Improvement in Their Sleep Quality
Pets are prone to disrupting our sleeping cycles, but they can also improve our quality of sleep, believe it or not. For some owners, having their pet in bed can help maintain their routine and go to bed at the same time every night. Of course, the extent to which this will apply to you depends on what kind of pet you have and what their sleeping habits are.
Pets Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Apart from the more obvious benefits, like making us less lonely and bringing us comfort, pets can also help lower our blood pressure levels. How does this happen? It turns out, any interaction with pets, like petting or hugging them, can potentially decrease blood pressure levels and have a relaxing effect on us. And if you have your pet beside you all night long, you can imagine how these benefits would multiply.
Pets Can Help with Stress Management
For some owners, stress is a constant in their life. Luckily, being a pet owner is reported to have incredible benefits in terms of stress management and reduction, and the same applies to allowing them to sleep on your bed. Cuddling your pet and being physically close to them has shown to reduce overall cortisol levels and increase the release of oxytocin. It goes to show that letting your pet in your bed might be just what you need after a stressful day at work.
How to Prepare for a Good Night’s Rest With Your Pet
Chances are, after reading all about the benefits of having your pet sleep next to you, you’re more motivated than ever to let them in your bed. However, here are some tips you should keep in mind to ensure that both you and your dog have a safe experience.
Don’t Allow Them to Touch Your Mattress and Pillow
In order to protect yourself from germs and bacteria as much as possible, try not to allow your pet to make direct contact with your mattress without a cover. The same applies to your pillowcase. Another option you can try out is purchasing a mattress protector so that your pet doesn’t touch your mattress.
Make Sure You Take Them on a Walk Before Bed
As we established earlier, a common reason why pets wake their owners in the middle of the night is because they need to go outside. To minimize the chances of having any accidents or disturbances in the middle of the night, it’s best to take them on a walk before it’s time for bed.
Wash Your Bedding Frequently
Many pet-related allergies can be avoided by simply washing the bedding more frequently.
Have a Designated Area for Your Pet to Sleep In
If you only allow your pet to sleep at the bottom of the bed, it will become a habit over time. Set firm boundaries as to where in the bed your pet is allowed to prevent any injuries and minimize the chances of disturbances.
Wash Your Dog’s Paws After Walks
Giving your dog a bath every time they go outside is unrealistic, but what you can try is washing their paws in case it’s raining and there’s a lot of mud. Another easy option you can try is wiping their paws with a pet-friendly wipe before you allow them in your bed.
Who Should Avoid Having Pets in the Bed
There is a special category of people who are more prone to suffering from some of the problems we mentioned above, so it might not be the best idea for them to have pets in the bed.
If you’re someone who is prone to allergies you have bigger chances of getting an allergic reaction, whether it’s from your pet’s fur or their dander. Light sleepers also are recommended to keep their pets off the bed considering how prone to movement pets are during the night. New dogs are tricky to sleep with, especially if they’re not house trained, so ensure that your dog is properly trained before you decide to invite them in your bed.
Why Should Dogs Not Sleep in Bed with You?
There are several reasons why sleeping next to your pets might not be the best idea. Pets carry germs and bacteria that can trigger allergic reactions and can wake you up in the middle of the night which disrupts your sleeping patterns.
Why Do Dogs Want to Sleep in Your Bed?
The simple answer is – dogs are quite attached to their owners and they would do anything to spend a little extra time near them.
Why Do Cats Walk on You While You Sleep?
One of the reasons why cats are prone to walking on top of you while you sleep is because they are craving attention or want to go outside.
Sleeping with our pets undoubtedly brings us a lot of joy and comfort. However, there are some risks that come with having pets in the bed, such as the possibility of allergic triggers, catching germs, suffering injuries, or disturbing our natural sleeping cycles. That being said, there are some benefits to consider as well, such as lower stress levels and blood pressure, having a source of comfort, and even improving our mental health.
It’s up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh the cons. There are some measures you can take to ensure both your and your pet’s safety, such as washing your bedding frequently and establishing boundaries.