Can You Safely Share a Bed with Your Pet?

As long as you and your dog are in good health, sleeping together is OK.

A recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests that sleeping with your dog in bed (as long as he doesn’t go under the covers) can be beneficial to your health. The effects of cats sleeping with their owners have not been studied, but anecdotally, vets have found that the outcomes are generally beneficial (though the nocturnal cat may be a bit more disruptive).

Lois Krahn, M.D., research coauthor and sleep medicine expert at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, said in a news statement, “Today, many pet owners are away from their dogs for most of the day, so they want to maximize time with them when they are home.” They may be easily manipulated by keeping them in the bedroom overnight. And now pet owners can rest easy knowing their pets won’t disturb their slumber.

Experts have warned against sleeping with pets like dogs and cats for a long time now, and for good reason: it encourages bad behavior in the animal and may cause significant sickness in people.

Many veterans now think the apprehensions about these matters are exaggerated, if not entirely wrong. Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a small animal internist and oncologist at New York’s Animal Medical Center, believes the resulting behavior may be harmful to humans and their furry pals. She explains that for many individuals, “sleeping with your pet is a vital ritual.” If the pet and owner are both in good health, “it doesn’t need to be avoided.”

Problems Associated with Pets Napping on Beds

It’s a myth that letting Fido or Fluffy sleep in bed with you will make them misbehave. Some pets, such as those known to be violent, are not suitable for sharing a bed with humans. Certified dog behavior expert and professional trainer Russell Hartstein argues that permitting aggressive dogs on beds and furniture is not the source of the dogs’ aggressive behavior.

This topic is always misunderstood. Hartstein, CEO of Los Angeles and Miami-based FunPawCare, thinks it’s appropriate to let pets sleep in bed with their humans. It’s amusing that this issue even arises. There is no truth to these conceptions of domination (long ago). Some presenters of animal-themed TV shows don’t base their claims on scientific facts, which may help explain why their viewers believe these things.

According to Hartstein, the pet owner’s way of life is the most pressing concern. How do they feel about the possibility of pet hair being present on the couch? Ask yourself this: Would they be okay with a pet at their feet as they slept? Can a person expect to lose sleep because their cat got up in the middle of the night? Pets will love the bed as much as their owners if their owners can get over these little drawbacks.

“Pets adore their parents and respond positively to their odours,” he explains. It has also been shown that they like sleeping in lofts and other high areas.

Hartstein recommends keeping a clean, comfy pet bed in or near the bedroom if the pet owner finds it uncomfortable to sleep on the bed. Put a shirt or other article of clothing in the bed for the pet to smell like you while you’re not there.

Is it OK for Kids to Sleep with the Family Dog?

Young children, like many adult pet owners, often want to sleep with the family dog or cat. While there are always exceptions, it’s usually not a good idea to let a kid who is six or younger sleep in the same room as a pet.

Dr. Carol Osborne, who works at the Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Ohio, says, “Before a kid should sleep alone with a pet, in my view, they need proof that they can manage the responsibility.” If your kid is in charge of feeding, watering, or walking the family pet, keep an eye on them to make sure they’re making sound decisions. Considerable weight is placed on that.

A youngster is not ready to sleep with a pet if he or she pulls on the animal’s tail, plays too roughly, or ignores the animal’s needs. While pets like dogs and cats may initially accept rough play from children, they often develop anxiety and respond with aggression as they become older. Hold off on letting the kid and pet sleep together in bed until they’ve shown their maturity to each other.

One thing you don’t have to worry about is a cat rolling over on a sleeping baby and suffocating it. According to Osborne and others, that’s just an old wives’ tale. More than three hundred years have passed since such a story was first recounted, yet it has not been forgotten. “Most cats are not interested in infants,” she explains. They stink and move inexplicably.

Still, it’s best practice to keep dogs away from infants. Certain types of illnesses are more common in infants less than 3 months old because their immune systems have not fully matured.

The Dangers of Sharing a Bed with Your Pet

The possibility of contracting an illness when sharing a bed with a dog or cat is perhaps the biggest worry among pet owners. When both the pet and the human are healthy, such an occurrence is said to be “extremely unusual,” according to our specialists.

When a pet is in good health, it has no fleas, ticks, or other parasites isn’t sick, has all of its vaccines up to date, and goes in for regular checks at the vet.

Hohenhaus explains that there is logic to the yearly visits to the veterinarian that are recommended. A veterinarian’s first concern is the wellness of your pet, and they will look for potential health problems to help you avoid them as well. However, the likelihood that the typical healthy pet would transmit a disease to a human is quite minimal.

People are considered to be in excellent health if they are not immunosuppressed. Many individuals, including those with cancer, those who have just had a transplant, and those who are HIV positive, should not share their beds with pets.

Experts concur that canine-to-human disease transmission is exceedingly unlikely, despite a recent claim to the contrary. The bulk of the about eight yearly occurrences of plague in the United States occurs in rural areas of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember that the CDC says getting sick from a pet is very unlikely,” Osborne adds. It’s not all bad to share a bed with a pet. Having a dog to cuddle with on a chilly night is especially pleasant since their body temperature is greater than ours. Additionally, dogs aid in relieving stress and allowing some persons with sleeplessness to go drug-free.