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 pet owners say no to that?
It turns out, according to animal experts, 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 you 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 on your mental health. You may experience a sense of security and companionship, which in turn 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 also 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. Cortisol, in contrast to oxytocin, is the fight-or-flight hormone which activates in moments of stress. With reduced cortisol, you may likely feel freer and happier.
Warn the nose
Conversely, still in the aspect of health, you may be better off with your pet in 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. Similar to allergies, pet fur and dander may worsen your sickness. There is also the possibility of infecting your pet and causing your best friend to also get sick. Either way, sleeping may pose a health risk for both the owner and the pet.
Mind the sheets
Aside from health considerations, you may have to look into hygiene if you’re regularly sharing 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 at other times. 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.
Small dogs, in the meantime, may develop separation anxiety. By the time necessity brings an owner away, the pet may turn destructive, scratching, biting, and wreaking havoc at home. Separation anxiety may also develop into the 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 you in your sleep, affecting sleep quality. Even dogs may 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 sleeping with their owners, pets may eventually think that their owners’ 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 out of the realm of possibility, especially if your pet isn’t well trained.
Do you still want your pet in the bed?
At the end of the day, there is 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 circumstances to help you decide. Deeply understanding these elements may also help prevent future issues if pets are allowed on the bed. Every owner and every bed will be different from each other. You may then find out what the best will be 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 then sleep with your pet. If you’ve decided it’s not for you, come morning you may cuddle your best friend as much as you want. As long as you and your pet are happy, snuggling may happen on the bed or off it regardless.