Pros and cons of pets in bed
Snuggling with pets can have many benefits for humans and animals alike, from stress relief to extra warmth on cold nights, but bedmates can also disturb one another’s sleep. Ultimately, there is no universally applicable policy on pets in the bedroom. Instead, it all depends on the personalities and needs of the individual pets and people involved. Here are some general pros and cons of pets in bed to help you decide how close you want to keep Fluffy or Fido at night.
Companionship: Many people regard pets as part of the family. They miss them when they’re apart, even if it’s just for a night. Studies have shown that seniors in nursing homes felt less lonely after visiting with a pet than they did after visiting with other people! But remember, a pet will be just as happy sleeping in a crate or pet bed. Don’t let them guilt you into providing bed privileges with those “sad puppy eyes.”
Relaxation: Studies have shown that interacting with a pet can have a significant impact on stress levels. One study found that caring for pets helped reduce blood pressure spikes in patients with hypertension. Another found that when faced with stressful tasks, individuals felt less stress when accompanied by their pet than they did when supported by a friend or spouse! When you’re trying to wind down after a hard day, it can be very relaxing and rewarding to settle down with a pet that loves you unconditionally.
Sleep disruption: A survey from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that 53 percent of pet owners who let their dogs or cats sleep in bed with them feel that their sleep was disrupted as a result. Cats can get very active at night, and even a zonked out dog can disrupt sleep by pinning you under the covers and preventing you from shifting positions in your sleep. Plus, animals have their own internal alarm clocks that may not correspond with yours.
Hair, hair, everywhere: If it’s important that you have at least one hair-free haven in your home, you definitely don’t want to allow your pets in bed. Even with frequent brushing some breeds of dogs and cats will coat your sheets, blankets, and pillows with shed fur.
Unexpected guests: Sometimes despite our best efforts pets can get parasites. If you don’t like the idea of there being even a remote possibility that a flea, tick, or worm (even a dead one) could get in your bed, you won’t want to sleep with your pets.
What If You Change Your Mind?
Whenever you change a pet’s routine, patience and positive reinforcement are key. If you want to start keeping your pet shut in the bedroom all night or you want to kick your pet out of bed, be gentle but firm during the adjustment process, and provide treats so that the designated sleep area will have positive associations for your pet.