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SLEEPING WITH PETS -
GOOD IDEA or BAD?

Woman Sleeping in Bed with Dog

Is sleeping with pets a good idea or a bad idea? If you have never had a dog or cat before, you may wonder why anyone would want to share their bed with a pet. Think hair, fleas, germs, poor quality of sleep, etc., etc.

On the other hand, if you are a pet lover, you may harbor some worries about these things, but you know sleeping with your dog or cat also has its advantages.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of sleeping with pets…

ADVANTAGES OF SLEEPING WITH PETS

Cat and Girl Sleeping in Bed
  1. Pets sharing your bed give you comfort. Whether it is their rhythmic breathing or their warm body, they can make you feel more comfortable no matter what type of mattress you sleep on.
  2. Sleeping with pets can help fight insomnia. Those things that keep you from falling asleep, such as stress, worries, and everyday problems can be eased by the feeling of safety and calm that can come with sleeping with your pet.
  3. Snuggling with pets can relieve stress and anxiety. Think about the use of dogs and cats as therapy animals. Their presence helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
  4. You have to have experienced a dog or cat curling up as close as possible to you to truly understand the comfort of the warmth they can provide.
  5. A person who is fighting depression can find it hard to connect with other humans, but the unconditional love provided by dogs (and some cats as well) can do a lot to fight depression.
  6. We are at our most vulnerable when sleeping at night. It is reassuring to know that you are being guarded. Dogs and cats can sense danger and act upon it and this makes us feel safer.
  7. Sleeping with humans is good for pets as well! Pets receive the same satisfaction from sleeping with their humans as their humans do. You are the most important thing in their lives and your special snuggling attention can make their day!

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SMELLY BED COVERS AND THE HAIR?

dog sleeping at foot of bed

There are steps you can take to alleviate odors and hair from your bed if you feel sleeping with pets is important to you and to your pets.

  1. Make sure your pets are checked regularly for fleas and ticks and have flea and tick prevention methods in place.
  2. Make sure cats are kept indoors and dogs only go out on leashes.
  3. Brush both cats and dogs every day to remove excess hair.
  4. Bathe both dogs and cats on as regular a basis as possible depending on the pet.
  5. Regularly wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets. Adding vinegar to the washer can help with odors as well. (1 cup of white vinegar to each load).

DO PETS DISTURB HUMAN SLEEP?

Man in bed with dog

Each human and each pet is, of course, unique. Both pets and other humans can disrupt our sleep.

As a general rule, cats tend to wander a bit at night, while dogs (especially small dogs) tend to stay curled up near their humans.

Some humans stay pretty much in the same space while sleeping, while others move all around. Little children, especially, and many pets move around as well.

Pets and/or humans can disrupt each other’s sleep. Lack of proper sleep can negatively affect our daily activities. If you are a light sleeper, you might want to keep those pets out of the bedroom.

SOLUTIONS FOR PET OWNERS WHO DO NOT WISH TO SLEEP WITH THEIR PETS

boy in bed with dog

There are solutions for pet owners who do not wish to have their pets sleeping with them but have pets who are not happy with that decision...

  1. Get a taller bed. (Will not work for cats!)
  2. Get a short-legged dog. (Also will not work for cats!)
  3. Give your pets their own room for sleeping in at night, similar to a child’s room with beds, food, and water, etc. It can be important for some pets to have their own separate spaces.
  4. One method that may work to keep cats out of the bedroom and stop them from scratching to get in is to place a few diagonal strips of double sticky tape on the bottom of the bedroom door. (Also will work for going around furniture or other areas where you want your cats to stay away from scratching and crying.)
  5. Allow the pet to sleep in a crate or bed close to the bed in the bedroom to boost the emotional comfort for both pet and owner.
  6. If you have allergies, it might be a good idea to invest in a good HEPA room filter.

TWO CAVEATS

  1. DO NOT let a pet get used to sleeping with you if you are planning on having children. At any point in time, you will be bringing a child into bed with you for comfort should they be ill or having a bad dream. This is a situation that could lead to a serious jealousy problem for a pet.
  2. If you are sleeping with a dog that has a dominance problem causing sleep disturbances for you or other pets, re-training of the dog may be necessary. It is important to understand that the dog is guarding what he or she feels is his. Re-training the dog involves learning that you are the boss, the one who gives the things he or she wants to call their own. The dog must work for them and can only get them at your command. (This method may require a professional trainer).

SLEEPING WITH PETS?

woman sleeping with cat

So, is sleeping with pets a good idea or a bad idea?

To answer that question, each person must take into account their own sleeping habits, whether they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices that go along with sharing a bed with a pet, and whether or not the desire to take advantage of some of the real benefits that can come with sleeping with pets is strong enough to overcome the disadvantages.


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