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Should You Let Your Pet Sleep on Your Bed?
Tuesday June 13th 2017
As a nation of animal lovers we want to keep our pets close. But how close is too close? Some people can’t see the harm, whereas others think it’s just plain bad for you. So should you let Fido or Fluffy snuggle under your duvet or banish them to their own bed? We weigh up the pros and cons…
Pro: Sleeping with a purring pal can help to relieve stress
If your idea of bliss is having a soft and warm companion to curl up with at night, then we’re probably telling you what you already know – that sleeping with your pet actually relieves stress. Knowing your furry family is close by can create a sense of calm and wellbeing. Also, there’s evidence that cat purrs can be therapeutic. Some studies have shown that cat owners have a 40% lower risk of heart attacks as their soothing purrs help to calm blood pressure and even reduce inflammation.
Con: It may worsen asthma or allergies
Itchiness, breathlessness, headaches, sore throat and sneezing. Suffering from allergies or asthma is upsetting enough, without you having to worry about aggravating your symptoms even more. Fluffy animals are prone to shedding and if you have a dog or a cat they’ll most likely be allowed outside, meaning they may snuffle around in the mud and grass picking up irritants such as dirt, pollen and maybe even mites. All of these things are only going to exacerbate any breathing problems you may already have. It’s just not worth it.
Pro: Sleeping with your pet can make you feel safer
A recent study has shown that having man’s best friend by your side at night may actually make you feel safer. The study as asked 150 pet owners to fill out a sleep questionnaire asking for their animals’ type and their sleeping habits. They later interviewed them and asked where the pets slept, how the pets behaved and whether or not their pets affected their sleep. The results found 41% believed having a pet in the bedroom led to better sleep.
One lady reported that her two small dogs made her feel cozy by warming her bed, another said feeling her cat touching her arm during the night was comforting and soothing. Aww.
Con: It may damage your puppy’s development
It can be heartbreaking to hear a frightened puppy crying at night. All you’ll want to do is scoop them up and comfort them. But giving in and allowing him or her to sleep in bed with you may be one step too far. Some behaviourists argue that puppies who are more prone to issues with aggression, may develop these behaviours further when allowed to sleep with humans. They also argue that housebreaking could also be affected if they’re allowed to co-sleep, leading to unfortunate night-time accidents. Experts advise that bed-sharing should be delayed until you’ve fully trained your puppy – or you may be doing them more harm than good.
Pro: It may help you both to bond
As well as helping us to feel safer and more relaxed, sleeping with your precious pet may help them to feel the same way. Our four-legged friends seek us out when they’re hurt or in need of a cuddle, so it makes sense that they’d want to be close to us when they’re at their most vulnerable – while sleeping. And you may find that it brings you closer and makes your pet trust you even more.
Con: You’ll get woken up throughout the night (and may not even know it)
Getting woken up at 5am with a cat’s paw in your face is a typical morning routine for many moggie mothers and feline fathers. And although we’re often aware of our pets trying to get our attention for their breakfast, we may not be aware of how they wake us up inadvertently throughout the night.
Cats for one thing are usually either nocturnal or crepuscular. The former means they’re most active during the night hours, whereas the latter means they’ll be at their busiest during dawn and dusk. Either way, your kitty probably won’t sleep through the night, and any activity is likely to disturb your slumber.
So, what’s the answer? Well, only you can decide what’s best for you and your pet. But whatever you decide, making sure your rabbits, cats or dogs are up to date with their vaccinations, worming and flea medicines is fundamental to their health and yours. No one wants fleas in their duvet! Yuck.