Most pet owners find it difficult to resist the urge to cuddle with their furry friends in bed. And why resist? Dogs and cats, with their cute eyes, little paws, and soft fur, can be perfect snuggle companions. At the same time, these pets give their fur parents unconditional love. How can cat and dog owners say no to that?
According to animal experts, it turns out there are reasons to keep pets in their own beds. But also, co-sleeping with pets has real health benefits, so the info is a little confusing.
What should you do from here, then? We have laid out the different perspectives to consider below so that you may make the right decision for yourself and your beloved pet.
When a Cat or Dog Sleeps with You
You’ve Got a Friend in Pooch
Owners usually see their pets as their best friends. This bond might mean you want to spend all your time together, even in bed, and it has its perks.
Being with your best friend may work wonders for your mental health. You may experience a sense of security and companionship, which combats feelings of stress, helplessness, and depression. In other words, pets can make cold nights feel less lonely.
On a chemical and biological level, a good night’s sleep with a pet produces oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone known as the “cuddle hormone” which reduces blood pressure. Lower blood pressure then leads to a relaxed and calm demeanour.
At the same time, oxytocin lowers cortisol levels in the body. In contrast to oxytocin, cortisol is the fight-or-flight hormone that activates during stressful moments. With reduced cortisol, you may likely feel freer and happier.
Warn the Nose
Conversely, you may be better off if your pet sleeps on their own bed. When you suffer from allergies, hay fever, or another respiratory issue, a pet on your mattress may be the start of your problems. Pets, especially furry ones, will shed, and the fur can trigger allergies.
You should probably keep your pet away too when illness attacks your immune system, especially when you’re triggered by allergens like pet fur, fleas and dander. There is also the possibility of infecting your pet and causing your best friend to also get sick. Either way, sleeping together may pose a health risk for both the owner and the pet.
Mind the Sheets
Aside from health considerations, you may have to consider hygiene if you regularly share the bed with your furry friend. A well-groomed and regularly bathed pet shouldn’t smell. The fur will feel extra soft on the skin. Snuggling may then feel extra special.
On the other hand, fur will still shed. Dander, which is dead skin that falls off pets, will also scatter over the sheets. In all likelihood, your pet’s bathroom needs may also be an issue. These elements add up to quickly dirty the bed. Owners then end up with more laundry on a weekly, even daily, basis.
When Personalities Clash
The Mind of a Pet
The third thing to think about is your pet’s personality. All owners know that their pets, every one of them, have unique personalities. These personalities may amuse some of the time and frustrate others. The same duality occurs on the bed as well. Pets may be docile one night but fussy the following night.
This unpredictability may turn dangerous later on as pets develop behaviours based on co-sleeping. Big dogs may intrude upon an owner’s privacy and space on the bed. The intrusion may include biting. Rough play may also be a possibility, a danger when young family members are present.
Research shows that small dogs may develop separation anxiety. When necessity brings an owner away, the pet may turn destructive, scratching, biting, and wreaking havoc at home. Separation anxiety may also develop into aggressiveness that may draw blood at some point in the future.
Owner vs Pet
Your personality may also clash with your pet’s. Cats, known for being headstrong, may disturb your sleep, affecting sleep quality. Even dogs can cause sleep disturbance, especially for light sleepers, by snoring loudly or waking up throughout the night.
When sleep disturbance is not the issue, the bed itself may be. After numerous nights of sleeping with their owners, pets may eventually think that their owners’ human beds are theirs.
With such thinking, pets may then perform resource guarding. Resource guarding involves growls, snarls, and other aggressive behaviour. Pets display this to protect a precious resource; in this case, the resource is the bed.
These are extreme circumstances but not impossible, especially if your pet isn’t well-trained. Instead of sharing one bed, you can keep your cat’s or dog’s bed near yours as an alternative sleeping arrangement.
Do You Still Want Your Pet in the Bed?
There’s no hard and fast rule about sleeping with your pet. What you decide to do must be based on your needs, wants, and routines. Your furry friend will naturally follow and adjust. After all, owners set the pace in the house.
You may then consider your day-to-day behaviour and health issues when choosing. Deeply understanding these elements may also help prevent future problems if pets are allowed on the bed. Every owner and every mattress differs from each other. You may then find out what’s comfy for you and your pet.
Whatever You Decide Will Be for the Best
It’s all down to personal preference, but if you’ve got the space, your bed is a great place to cuddle and sleep with your pet. If you’ve decided it’s not for you, that’s fine too; as long as you and your pet are happy.