There is no doubt that pets are good for us. Current research confirms everything we have ever believed, including how pets decrease our blood pressure, increase our happy brain chemicals, improve our social skills and even in many cases; help us to live longer. Some might say, our pets are the magic pill that improves our health! But what about the question that sparks great conversation across the pet ownership world: should your pet sleep on your bed?
It is quite a polarising question with people either strongly for or against the idea of snuggling up to their four-legged mate in bed. For me, I love nothing more than cuddling my dogs on the bed at night-time. It is a mutual comfort and something that both man and dog have been engaging in together for thousands of years. Whether for warmth, safety, affection or a combination of the three, sleeping together has most likely been a contributing factor to how dogs and people got to become such good friends.
According to research published by the Mayo clinic, those whose pets slept in their bedroom reported an 83% satisfactory score, with 80% being the marker of sleep satisfaction. Those whose pets slept on their bed, recorded an average of 80% sleep satisfaction. Concluding that pets on the bed or in the bedroom did not have a negative impact on the sleep hygiene of their owners and in many cases provide much needed comfort and company to those who would otherwise sleep alone.
Arguments against allowing your pet to sleep on the bed also include concerns for general hygiene, with some owners concerned about zoonotic conditions (animal-human transferrable). Interestingly, studies have shown that not only are healthy and well cared-for pets not detrimental to the health of our bedroom space, they can even improve it. Children who have pets in their family, are reported to be less likely to suffer form allergies and asthma. They are also able to build more disease resistance as pets encourage a much healthier lifestyle.
So, if after all the benefits I have described here, you are thinking about inviting Fido onto the bed tonight, consider these safeguards to ensure you both have a great night’s sleep:
- Always try to invite your pet on the bed instead of encouraging them to take over the space on their terms
- If they are restless and unsettled, lure them to a bed of their own on the floor, ensuring they are comfortable and content.
- Make sure they have been outside to the toilet just prior and haven’t had a big drink of water before bedtime
- Discuss this with your partner prior and make sure you are both on the same page. It is important everyone in the bed is happy with the arrangement!
- Keep your pet up-to-date with all flea, tick and worming treatments
- Maintain a yearly check up with your vet to ensure your pet is at optimum health
- Enjoy the snuggles and embrace the physical and mental health they provide to you
As an animal behaviourist, it has taken me a while to overturn many other trainers’ long lived beliefs against this topic. But nowadays, I see more and more trainers and behaviourists resign to the research and accept that allowing your pet to sleep alongside you may be ok after all.
It is interesting how after thousands of years building this inimitable relationship with our pets, making extraordinary advances and investing in modern research, we end up all the way back to the origins of pet ownership… that sleeping alongside your pet just like we did 33,000 years ago is A-Okay!