A lot of people like to be as close to their pets as possible. Many like to have their pets sleep with them, it gives people a sense of comfort and closeness with their furry friends. However – how healthy is it? You are, in fact, allowing an animal to stay in very close proximity to you, for many hours per night. Can you get sick? Maybe have your allergies flare up? Will it make your pets horrible co-dependent and clingy, or will it strengthen your bond in a healthy way? Read the article below to find some of the benefits, and some of the issues, you might face if you want to keep your pet in your bed.
Less stress, more comfort
Stress, depression, anxiety, these can all lead to a poor night’s rest, which then leads to a feedback loop of unhealthy negative emotions. These also further lead to restless sleep, and even insomnia.
Pets, however, help us feel calm and relaxed. They give us relief, and sleeping in the same bed with your dog or cat can help counteract the negative emotions that lead to a restless night. Holding a dog or a cat next to us will help our brains release oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. The pets’ reassuring presence and company can further help us relax, they can assist us in simply not thinking about the things that usually make us worry and lose sleep. A pet by our side assists us in shifting our attention away from ourselves, getting outside of our own heads.
On a physical level, both the warmth of a pet and its rhythmic breathing can help soothe us, leading to better sleep.
Allergies and diseases
People that suffer from asthma, or pet allergies, will have these issues made much worse if you start spending eight hours every night with your pets. Furthermore, pat allergens will get an eight-hour window to slowly adhere to your bed, your clothing, bed frame… Sure, a HEPA filter or allergy shots can help, but you still need to approach this with caution.
Furthermore, your pet spends a lot of time outdoors. It interacts and plays with things it really shouldn’t, things that might mess with your health. However, if you do bathe your pet regularly, and if you keep them healthy with vaccinations, good food, and any other medication they need, then you will most likely be safe on the diseases front at least. Furthermore, spending years with your pet and interacting with it means you have most likely already gotten used to any diseases they might have.
A stronger bond (or dominance issues)
Sleeping with your dog in your bed can lead to a much stronger bond forming. However, it can also cause dominance issue. A big part of that hinges on how your pet is trained, which we all know is not easy. A properly trained dog is a result of you speaking with professional and certified veterinarians, doing your research through good pet websites, like Totally Goldens for example, and just giving it lots of love and attention. A well-behaved pet that knows who’s the boss in the house will feel more like part of the pack.
However, a poorly trained dog, for example, with aggression and dominance problems will take issue with this situation. It will feel as though you gave it more territory, and as though you acquiesced some of your own space in its favour.
A feeling of security
Sleeping with your dog can help you feel much safer during the night, both mentally and physically. They can provide comfort if your partner is away, or if you simply don’t feel that secure at night. Some people might have unfortunately suffered serious trauma in the past, and a dog by their side can help them feel safe.
On an emotional level, a dog can be there to comfort you if you suffer from nightmares, or if you have panic attacks before bed. Sleepwalkers and people who suffer from night terrors might appreciate having a dog by their side at night as well.
And there you have it, folks, a short guide on whether co-sleeping with your dog is a good idea or not. In some instances, it definitely can improve your life and your bond with your dog. You will feel closer to it, have a greater sense of security, and can even feel some stress and sleep issues melt away. However, in other situations, like if you have allergy problems, this might not be the healthiest option. Of course, context matters as well. A properly trained dog who knows who’s the boss of the house will feel closer to the pack if you two share a bed. A dog with dominance issues will see this as you granting it territory.