When to Sleep with Your Pet (and When You Shouldn't)

If you sleep with your pet, you’re not alone, literally. Nearly 56 percent of dog owners sleep with their pet and nearly 50 percent of those sleep with the dog on the bed. As the statistics show, sleeping with a pet isn’t for everyone. Who knows, you may have been contemplating adding a furry friend to your bedroom for a while. Before you make the decision, take a look at a few of the pros and cons to decide if a new bedmate is right for you.

 

Pros of Sharing Your Bed/Bedroom

For some, bringing their pet into the bedroom or onto their bed is a no-brainer. Others might need some convincing. If you’re still on the fence, there are a few reasons why you might want to invite Fido inside.

1. A Sense of Security  -  A pet in the bedroom is an extra set of eyes and ears in case anything is amiss during the night. Security and safety might be of particular importance to those who live alone.

2. Better Relaxation  -  Spending time with and/or touching your pet can release oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel good by increasing your sense of care and compassion. People who suffer from anxiety and depression often find their symptoms less problematic at night when sleeping with a pet.

3. Warmth and Comfort  -  A dog or cat can be like a furry electric blanket. The rhythm and sound of your pet’s breathing can bring reassurance that’s not easily duplicated.

4. Family Bonding  -  Pets get lonely too. If you have long work hours, sleeping in the same room or bed acts as much needed bonding time between you and your pet. You’ll both find an increase in your sense of belonging to the “pack” as you spend this important time together.

 

Cons: When It Might Be Best to…Not

Pets in the bedroom don’t work for everyone. Here are a few circumstances in which you might want to keep your pet in another room.

1. You Have Allergies  -  Pet dander manages to find its way most everywhere. It can attach itself not only to textiles but wood furniture as well. Pet dander can increase allergy symptoms, which cause breathing problems for some people.

2. No One’s Getting Enough Sleep  -  Both you and your pet need adequate sleep. Adults need a seven to nine full hours. If a large and/or restless pet keeps you awake, you both might be better off in separate rooms.

3. Your Partner Objects  -  Everyone who shares the bedroom or bed needs to be in agreement. Pets should bring your family together, not pull them apart with an argument.

 

How to Make It A Success

If you’re ready for the transition, here are a few things you can do to make it a success.

  • If your pet is large, consider a dog bed next to your bed or carrier in the corner. Your pet will still be nearby, but won’t interrupt your sleep as much.
  • From the first night your pet enters your bedroom, establish the rules. If he’s supposed to stay at the foot of the bed, make him stay there. This helps establish boundaries and makes sure everyone gets the rest they need.
  • Keep your pet clean. You don’t want your pet bringing in extra dirt or debris. That may mean a quick bath or cleaning of the feet before bed.

 

After reviewing the pros and cons, you probably have a sense of what’s right for you.

Remember, if sleeping with your pet doesn’t work out, you can always move them out again.