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Sleeping with Pets – Safe or Unsafe?

sleeping-with-pets

A lot of people allow their pets to sleep with them, whereas others wonder whether it is safe or not to allow their pets to stay on their beds. So, is it safe to let your pet sleep with you? Are there any health issues that are caused by keeping your pets in your bed? How does a pet react to you, letting it sleep on the bed? There are lots of such questions that we will answer in this article. So, without any further delay, let us look at the pros and cons of allowing a pet to share your bed.

Is It Okay to Allow Pets on Your Bed?

CDC reports that nearly 60 percent of people in the US own some kind of pet, and half of these people let their pets sleep in their bedrooms. Another survey revealed that almost 45 percent of dog owners in the US allow their dogs to sleep on their beds, 17 percent provide a dog bed for their dogs, and 20 percent crate their dogs. What about the cats?  Surprisingly, a more significant number of people allow their cats to sleep on their beds than those who allow dogs. As many as 65 percent of cat owners let their cats on the owners’ beds. The American Pet Products Association revealed that 13 percent of people allow their cats to sleep with kids as well. In general, the people in the US are more likely to allow their pets to sleep on the owner’s bed as compared to those of any other country. In 2015 Houzz surveyed 10,000 pet owners in 11 countries in the world to see their likelihood of allowing pets on their beds. Nearly 50 percent of the people in the US allowed their pet cats on the beds as compared to 30 percent of people in France and Germany. As for the dogs, 41 percent in the US let their dogs on their beds as compared to 14 percent in Spain.

Pros of Sleeping with Your Pets

As we can see, a lot of people in the US allow their pets to sleep on their beds. However, is there any advantage of letting your pets sleep on your bed? A 2014 survey of 10,000 pet owners studied the impact of the owner and the pet sleeping on the same bed. The results showed people who allowed their pets on their beds took, on average, 4 minutes more to sleep than the people who don’t, but it is not something that you need to worry about as there are greater advantages of letting your pet sleep with you.

Feeling of Security

The above study revealed that people who let their pets share their bed feel more secure at night, both physically and psychologically. A lot of people say that they got a dog as it makes them feel protected and keeping their dogs nearby when they are most vulnerable, i.e., when they are sleeping, is a good way to feel secure. A lot of people are unable to sleep alone, and having a pet comes in handy if these people are single or if their partner is away.

Stress Management

One of the common symptoms of insomnia is stress and anxiety. As you are unable to sleep, you get anxious, which makes falling asleep even more difficult. So, having a pet with you is a great way to feel calm and relieved. People get an oxytocin surge by just touching their pets, which makes them feel good and reduces stress. So, having a pet with you, especially when you are suffering from insomnia is a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Strengthening of Bond

Allowing a pet on your bed is not only beneficial for you but for your pet as well. A pet likes to be near its owner, and letting them sleep with you is an excellent way of making them happy and strengthening your bond. Doing this is suitable for people who have to leave their pets alone for extended time periods.

Cons of Sleeping with Your Pets

Like everything, sleeping with your pet has a few downsides too. But they can be managed, so there is no need to prevent your pet from sleeping on your bed. A study performed by Mayo Clinic involving 150 people revealed that 20 percent of people had some kind of difficulty while sharing their beds with a pet. However, these problems were not severe, and you should know about the risks of sleeping with your pet.

Asthma and Allergies

Nearly 10 percent of the population in the US suffers from asthma. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also revealed that nearly 33 percent of the people in the country have some sort of animal-related allergy. So, if you are one of those people who suffer from a pet allergy, then it is not advisable for you to allow your pets on your bed. The biggest issue with pet allergy is that they are not limited to the pets. The allergens could stick to your bedsheets or other things in the room and cause an allergic reaction. A person who suffers from pet allergy should not even allow their pets in their room. However, if you really want to allow your pet in your bed, get a HEPA filter and try allergy shots to develop immunity to pet allergy.

Sleep Disturbance

It doesn’t matter if you are a light sleeper or not; keeping your pets in your room can disturb your sleep. A small pet such as a cat or a small dog might not be able to wake you up by making movement in your bed, but the big dogs can wake you up, especially if your mattress doesn’t isolate motion. Additionally, the pet might scratch themselves at night, or their collars might jingle and wake you up. This problem is a lot common with cat owners as cats are nocturnal creatures and will gladly try to play with their owners at night. As for the dogs, they might not wake up at night, but they will try to get comfortable, and the bigger ones might even knock you off the bed, accidentally. If your pet is waking you up at night, try to put them on a different bed. Doing this would make you as well as the pet comfortable without any need to send them out of your room.

Aggression from Pets

The chances of this happening are quite low, but allowing a cat or a dog on your bed can make them more dominant and thus aggressive. When you allow a pet on your bed, you are granting them access to your territory (they consider you superior to themselves) and thereby an equal status. So, the pet might try to get as comfortable as they can even if it means taking up your space. In case you think a pet might do so, specify a place where the pet can sleep and only allow them on that place on your bed.

Some Don’ts with If You Sleep with Pets

A pet should never be allowed to sleep on a bed with a child or an infant. A dog might carry germs that don’t affect the adults, but kids whose immune system is not strong might get sick. Some dogs or cats might even attack a kid if the animal is having a nightmare or if the kid wakes them up suddenly. Apart from children, people who are sick should also not share a bed with their pets. Sickness weakens the immune system, and these people become more prone to allergies or asthma.

Sleeping with Pets FAQs

Do People Allow Their Pets to Sleep on Their Beds?

Over 60 percent of people in the US allow their pets in the room, and nearly half of them let their pets sleep on their beds.

Are There Any Benefits of Allowing A Pet to Sleep On Your Bed?

If you suffer from depression or anxiety or have trouble sleeping alone, allowing a pet on your bed might make you more comfortable and let you sleep with a sense of security.

Are There Any Harmful Effects of Letting A Pet Sleep on My Bed?

If you are not careful, a pet might get more dominant and make you uncomfortable while sleeping. There is also a possibility that the pet might attack you if it suffers from nightmares.

Should I Allow My Pet to Sleep With My Child?

No, it is advised that you don’t let a pet sleep with your child, especially with an infant. A pet might roll over and hurt the baby.

How Long Do Pets Sleep?

A dog need around 10 hours of sleep a day, a puppy might sleep for up to 20 hours, and cats, they sleep somewhere around 18 to 20 hours a day.

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