Is sleeping with pets recommended?
Anyone who has pets knows how difficult it can be to resist their wishes. Even if they don't speak, they are beings that manage to convey to us what they want with just a look - pet owners can confirm this!
As a rule, people who live alone with their pets tend to more easily allow their pets to join them at bedtime, mainly for reasons of comfort and company.
On the coldest nights, there is no one who can resist those “little eyes” shining when they ask to climb into our beds at bedtime. For many, sleeping with the dog or cat is an almost religious habit. Still, there are those who allow it, and there are those who forbid it!
One study of the Mayo Foundation addressed this issue, questioning 150 people. The results showed that more than half of pet owners (56%) allowed their pets to sleep with them. On the other hand, 15 of the respondents (20%) considered their pets as disturbing, while 31 (41%) described them as discreet and/or even beneficial for their sleep.
In view of this, the question that arises is one: Is sleeping with our animals safe?
Is sleeping with a cat/dog bad for you?
The news is even encouraging: in fact, it's okay to sleep with our pets! But even so, this is still a very personal matter, and one that requires great care when it comes to hygiene care.
In an interview with Observer, Joaquim Henriques - clinical director of the Veterinary Center of Berna, in Lisbon - clarifies that "sleeping with the pet depends on the care you have with them". That is, if the animal is healthy, clean and bathed regularly, there will be no problems that compromise its health.
Thus, in homes where people and animals cohabit, the hygiene must be redoubled and be more present than ever. Otherwise, sleeping with the cat or dog may not be so healthy, and affect our quality of life…
Sleeping with pets: 3 benefits
Now that you know that it is not harmful if the cat/dog sleeps with the owner, you are certainly more relaxed! Contrary to what many people might think, there are many benefits of sleeping next to our animals. Here are 3.
- Stress and anxiety relief
Unfortunately, these days, the anxiety has become more and more the order of the day. What if we told you that the company of our animals can calm many anxiety symptoms, and contribute to a better mental health?
Some studies show that pets can reduce anxiety in people, and there are even dogs that accompany people with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder on a daily basis. These dogs help these people to leave the house, leaving them calmer and more relaxed.
At bedtime, the effect is the same! The company of our animals gives us a sense of well-being, which helps us to forget about everyday problems and relax, allowing us to have a more peaceful and deep sleep.
- Strengthening the pet-owner bond
Sleeping with our animals strengthens (even more) the affective bond we have with them. Despite being independent beings (especially cats), they also need affection and to feel loved and protected.
If your cat or dog climbs into your bed at bedtime, take advantage of those moments to strengthen your relationship. Play with him and offer affection. This affection will certainly be reciprocated!
- Increased sense of security
Anyone who has animals knows their ability to always be attentive and reactive to everything. Mostly in the case of dogs (thanks to barking) we know that, when an unusual situation arises, they are the first to listen and give us a signal.
However, this feature can be an added value on the nights we share with them, as we know that they will react to movements or strange sounds that may arise during the night. In this way, we feel much safer and, consequently, sleep better.
But the opposite also happens...! If our dog/cat feels unwell during the night, we will also be there to protect and help them if necessary. Thus, if the cat/dog sleeps with the owner, it will also be much safer.
What are the associated risks?
In the end, why do dogs/cats like to sleep with their owner? The reasons are simple. Pets seek our bed because it is warm, cozy and they want affection and/or company.
However, if there is not a certain type of care and precautions, this close coexistence between humans and animals can bring some associated risks. Find out what they are:
- Altered sleep quality
Some researchers argue that sleeping with pets in the same bed can increase our nocturnal awakenings and compromise a good night's sleep, which can lead to some sleep disorders.
When we share our bed with our animals, the usable space becomes reduced (especially for those who naturally already sleep with someone else) and, in addition, there is a serious risk of our sleep being interrupted.
Bearing in mind that animal sleep is shorter and more fragmented than human sleep, the constant movements or noises that animals make involuntarily may be responsible for interrupting our rest.
However, for those who are more "heavy" sleepers and don't wake up so easily, this may not be considered a big problem.
- Worsening allergies and exposure to germs
Those who suffer from allergies, asthma or any type of respiratory disease need to pay extra attention!
Animals can carry dust and allergens into bedding, worsening allergies and/or causing other respiratory problems. Because they are in contact with feces, dust, fungi and bacteria, our animals can contract fleas, ticks, mycoses and infections - especially dogs, since they are outside daily - and consequently transmit them to us.
Betting on a more reinforced daily cleaning is essential in these cases.
How to avoid these risks?
Keep the room, mattress and bed always clean it is a habit that must always be present, whether or not there are pets.
However, there are some extra practices that can be adopted for a healthier coexistence between animals and humans in the same bed. Between them:
- It is important to clean the animal's paws before entering the house after a walk (in the case of dogs), or after using the litter box (in the case of cats);
- Brushing the animal frequently also helps to avoid allergic reactions and the proliferation of bacteria, regardless of whether the animal has little hair or short hair;
- ALWAYS vaccinate the animal, as well as regular deworming against fleas and ticks;
- Vacuum the mattress and change the bedding more frequently;
- Use a waterproof protection to the mattress, to avoid small accidents that may arise.
Maximum comfort for us and our animals
Like us, the sleep of our pets also deserves to be guided by comfort, in order to provide them with restorative moments of rest.
A good foam mattress is the best option for those who usually sleep with the dog or cat. Thanks to the ability of foam mattresses absorb the impact of movements, minimizing the vibrations and variations of the mattress, your sleep will hardly be disturbed by your pet's movements.
Discover the best foam mattresses on the market: ours!