Is it healthy to sleep with your pet?

Most pet owners consider their furry friends to be much-loved members of the family.

Sure, they might speak a different language and have different habits, but they’re life companions who don’t ask much more than a bit of a scratch behind the ears and a regular feed.

But am I going too far to say that there are two types of pet owners?

There are those who forbid their pet from sleeping on their bed. And then there are others who happily curl up with their dog or cat buried deep under the sheets and blankets.

A US survey by the American Pet Products Association found that almost 50% of pet owners let their dog or cat sleep on their bed.

So, what are the pros and cons of sleeping with your pet?

The ‘pros’ – 2 good reasons to allow your pet to sleep in your bed  

  1. Sleeping with your pet can make you feel calmer

Hearing the steady breathing of your dog or purring of your cat can be calming. It might actually help you fall asleep. Some people, especially those who live on their own also feel safer sleeping with their pet.

  1. Pet company is good for your mental and physical health

Numerous studies have proven that having a pet has a positive effect on your physical, psychological and social health. It’s sometimes called ‘The Pet Effect’. There’s some evidence that exposure to pets even lowers your likelihood of developing allergies. Pets can also help you avoid depression and anxiety.

The ‘cons’ – 4 reasons not to sleep in bed with your pets

  1. If allergies are a problem

If you have pet allergies or suffer from asthma, it’s a good idea to keep your pet out of the bedroom. If your pet is too cute to resist, it’s possible to get allergy shots from your doctor. These might help build-up your tolerance to ‘pet dander’ and other irritants.

  1. They may carry bugs and dirt

Even if you’re meticulous in washing your pet, it’s possible they may carry bugs, bacteria and dirt, even parasite eggs (roundworms and hookworms). Regular washing of both your pet and of your bed linen helps. You also need to make sure you give your pet their regular medications for fleas, ticks and worms.  

  1. Pets can disturb your sleep

We all know the importance of having an undisturbed sleep. Sleep disturbances can lead to health issues and a decline in concentration at work, while driving or operating machinery. If your pet is restless or wakes-up frequently during the night, chances are, they’ll also disturb your slumber.

  1. Pets in the bed could interfere with your love life

The bedroom should be reserved for two main activities – sleep and intimacy. If having your favourite pooch or feline friend staring at you while you make love puts you off, you might need to show them the door – at least occasionally!