For many of us, it is perfectly natural to snuggle up next to a four-footed companion at the end of each day. For others, the idea fills them with horror at the thought of a potentially bacteria infested animal sharing the same bed. Fear of sharing a bed leading to aggression and other behavioral issues have also long kept our cats and dogs out of the bedroom.
However, recent research has made it official — it’s okay to let your pet sleep in your bed as long as both you and your pet are in good health. That means your pet is free of fleas and ticks, and you are free from allergies to dogs or cats. (1)
There are very few diseases that can potentially spread from dog to man, and nearly all of them are treatable. The big ones such as leptospirosis and rabies have vaccines for them. Other transmittable diseases such as worms are preventable through regular screenings at your vet.
If you happen to have allergies to your dog or cat, sleeping with your pet is a terrible idea. In fact, you probably shouldn’t let your pet into the bedroom at all to help keep symptoms under control.
Does sleeping with you cause aggression in pets?
Many owners refuse to let their dogs sleep on the bed or in the bedroom out of fear of behavioral issues. The theory is that allowing them to share the same sleep space will encourage alpha behaviors.
While sleeping on the bed itself does not cause these issues, some unpleasant behavioral problems may make you want to sleep without them. Dogs who resource guard—growl or bite when protecting things, they view as theirs—can decide to resource guard the bed. In this case, keeping the dog off the bed may be for the best, as well as contacting a behaviorist to address the problem more directly. Even if your dog does exhibit resource guarding, the bed itself is not what caused the issue. It only happens to be the item that the dog is guarding. Resource guarding can also occur with food, bones, toys, and even people. If your dog is exhibiting these behaviors, he needs training with a certified behaviorist to resolve the problems. (2)
Benefits of sleeping with your pets
Since most people spend the majority of the day away from their house, the night can be their prime time to bond with their pets. Dogs and cats both tend to have naturally higher body temperatures than we do, which makes them warm and comfortable snuggle partners. They may even help people with insomnia get to sleep without needing medication to do so.
Sleeping with your pets can be great for both you and your dog and cat. Just remember to use common sense if you decide to sleep with them. Both you and your pet may sleep better, and you’ll get that precious one-on-one time we may otherwise miss from a busy day of work or school. (3)
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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