To Allow or Not To Allow: Pets on the Bed

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 50% of pet owners in the U.S. allow their pet to sleep in bed with them.

And just like this statistic, the general population seems torn on the subject for two reasons in particular. Historically, it has been considered unhealthy for your pets to snuggle up with you at night. For decades, we had been told that our pets can give us diseases if they share our sheets. Additionally, it had been thought that allowing our pets in bed would create bad or aggressive habits in our furry friends.

“Keep in mind that the CDC reports that contracting a disease from a family pet is rare,” said Dr. Carol Osborne, a veterinarian who practices at Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Ohio.

Many experts agree that it would be “very rare” for something like that to occur if the pet and person are both in good health. “With the average healthy pet, there is a very low risk they will spread an illness to a person,” according to Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a staff doctor at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, who specializes in small animal internal medicine and oncology.

So as long as your pet has regular vet appointments and is up-to-date on all their vaccinations, your pet would be considered in good health. And for people, good health in these cases could be defined as those who are not immunosuppressed. Cancer patients, transplant recipients, and H.I.V.-positive people are among those who should not sleep with pets.

Contrary to what you’ve heard, allowing a dog or cat on the bed doesn’t cause behavioral problems. Aggression in animals is generally rooted in fear. Allowing your pet to share your bed would actually promote a sense of physical and emotional security for both your pet and you.

When deciding whether or not you should allow your pet to sleep in bed with you, you should ask yourself what you can tolorate. For example, would pet hair in the bed bother you? Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans so if you’re already a hot sleeper, it could be much warmer having fido next to you. Meanwhile, cats are nocturnal and generally restless at night which could disrupt your sleep.

Whatever path you choose, the key to a happy pet and owner relationship is consistency, so be sure to start off on right paw. If you aren’t going to allow your pet on the bed, set this rule immediately and reinforce it at all times. Similarly, if you allow your pet on the bed and change your mind down the road, training them to stay off could be difficult and confusing for them.

Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published