Having pets in bed with you; Yes or No?
Many of us let our pets sleep in bed with us. But is it healthy? Are there any negative side effects or health risks with having your pet in bed with you? How does it affect your relationship with your pet? We answer all these questions below.
Benefits of having a pet in bed with you at night
Sharing a bed with your pet can make you feel safer at night. Many people present safety and protection as a reason for getting a dog, and keeping a dog close to you while you’re at your most vulnerable makes sense in this context. Many people also feel safer just having someone in bed with them, and a pet can be a good substitute for someone living alone.
2. Stress relief
People who suffer from insomnia also experience stress, depression, and anxiety. Pets help calm down and reduce stress. Naturally, these benefits are carried forward when you sleep with your pet. Just petting a dog or cat raises the level of oxytocin in your mind and makes you feel good. Just their presence is reassuring and helps reduce stress.
3. Better emotional bond
Pets love our company. That’s why dogs freak out when they see us at the end of the day. Feels like an eternity to them. So sleeping together will make them feel better too. If you spend long hours working away from your pet, sleeping with them can be a good way to spend more time with them and help them feel like a part of the family.
Risks of Sleeping with your pet
1. Aggravates pet allergies and asthma
If you suffer from asthma or are allergic to dogs or cats, you shouldn’t let your sleep in the same bed as you. In fact, they shouldn’t even be allowed in your bedroom, as you’ll have difficulty sleeping. If you’re allergic but still want your pet to sleep in the same room as you, use a HEPA filter.
2. Risk of disease
Even if you’re not allergic, your pet spends more time outside doing things you take care to avoid, such as rolling in the grass, walking into unsanitary places, etc. This could interfere with your health. Pets aren’t exactly clean, but if you keep your pet up to date on their shots and medications, you should be good.
3. Sleep interruptions
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a light sleeper (if you’re confused, click this link to read more about how to decide whether you’re a light sleeper or not), pets can disturb your sleep at night. Dogs are known to snore sometimes, and cats might wake up multiple times in the night asking for attention, as cats are nocturnal. Dogs have dreams just like we do, and they kick, grunt, and move in their sleep, which might disturb your slumber. Dogs of all sizes are inclined to hog the bed. Confirmed.
Who shouldn’t sleep with their pets?
- People who are sick, are extremely asthmatic, or allergic to pets.
- Infants, as they are at higher risk of getting sick from the germs pets carry. Soft surfaces also pose a problem to infants, and the pet may roll over while sleeping and block their airways.
- Young children, as some dogs might bite by mistake if aroused from sleep, especially if they are having a nightmare.
An added point of information, if you do plan on having your pet with you in bed, we suggest you get a mattress that has a memory foam resting surface or one with a high density foam surface, as this will help reduce disturbance when your pet moves around in their sleep.