Should you let your dog or cat
sleep in your bed?

Many pet owners love it when their cat or dog curls up next to them during the night. It's cute, and it can bring comfort. How could you resist your dogs' puppy eyes or your cat purring gently while curling up on your pillow?

But should you actually let your pet sleep in the same bed with you, or would it be better to get your pet their own bed or make them sleep in another room?

Is it healthy to sleep with a pet, or are there reasons why they should be banned from the sack?

Let's find out.

pet-friendly pillow and duvet

Why does my dog or cat sleep
right next to me?

Your pet probably likes to sleep in your bed simply because it's cozy, warm, and comfortable. They also feel safer sleeping together with their pack than sleeping alone.

They are looking for companionship, safety, and closeness.

Especially dogs feel safe when they are close to their pack leader, which is you. It is also a sign of affection and closeness. While a sign of trust and loyalty, it can also be a sign that your dog wants to protect you.

The same goes for cats. They are looking for companionship, safety, and closeness. They want to feel warm and comfortable, and because they trust you to take care of them, they choose to sleep with you.

Another thing that could be going on is your pet marking their territory. By curling up next to you, they are claiming the bed – and you¬– as theirs. They sleep close to you to spread their scent so that everyone knows the bed is their territory.

Where should my pet sleep at nighttime?

Where your dog sleeps during the night is up to you and your dog. You can share your bed with your pet, or they can sleep in their own bed, crate, floor, or the couch. More than half of cat and dog owners are willing to let their pet in the bed, but many also consider it disruptive and rather have their pet sleep somewhere else.

Some pet owners prefer to let the pets in the bedroom, while others restrict their pets downstairs during the night. There are actually pros and cons in both practices. Eventually, it's up to you to weigh the benefits and decide what to do. After all, all dogs, cats, and pet owners are different.

Is it healthy to sleep with a dog or cat in your bed?

Golden lying on comforter

There are pros and cons to letting your dog sleep in the same bed as you.

Some of the advantages are:

  • Letting your pet sleep in your bed can give you comfort and a feeling of security
  • It can reduce your symptoms of depression
  • It can have a positive impact on how deep your sleep is
  • It can relieve insomnia, decrease stress, and ease loneliness
  • It may even promote your heart health and lower your blood pressure

As you can see, sleeping together in the same bed with your bed can have numerous health benefits.

Still, studies also show reasons it would be better to keep your dog off the bed, such as:

  • Sleeping with your pet may worsen your allergies
  • Your dog could transmit parasites like heartworms or bacteria like salmonella
  • Your sleep may be disrupted by your dog moving around during the night or snoring
  • If your dog is a heavy drooler or is not yet house trained, you may want to protect your bed and make him sleep somewhere else
  • Co-sleeping may contribute to some behavioral problems. In such cases, you should consult a vet or dog trainer to assess the situation.

So, if you're a light sleeper, co-sleeping with your pet may not be such a good idea. Also, if you have animal allergies, it may be wise to train your pet that the bedroom is off-limits at all times.

You should also remember that parasites, fungi, and bacteria can spread from pets to humans but touching feces, bites, and scratches, or licking the face or an open wound. The risks of most diseases are fairly low, but fleas, ticks, ringworm, and mites can easily be an issue.

How can I protect my bed from my dog or cat?

If you want to share your bed with a shedding pet, there are a few things you can do to protect your bed from getting dirty.

If your pet is sleeping in the same sheets as you, then washing them often is critical to keeping your bed clean. We'll talk more about that in a second.

1. Get a bed for your pet

If you want your pet to sleep in the bedroom, but you don't want them sleeping in the bed, you could always get them a comfy pet bed.

With a plush and cozy bed right next to where you sleep, you can keep your pet close to you while still ensuring your bed stays clean and the pet hair and dander stay in the pet bed.

2. Protect your bed with a pet blanket

Another option is to buy a pet blanket or pet cover to place at the foot of your bed and teach your pet to only sleep on it. This will help you manage the pet hair as it mostly gathers on the cover, which can easily be washed or shaken outside to remove the hair and other dirt.

dog bed on floor

3. Pet hair resistant bedspread

Sometimes pets are not allowed in the bed at night, but they take advantage of the opportunity and curl up between the sheets during the day. In such a case, it's important to make your bed every morning.

A pet hair-resistant bedspread your pet can sleep on will protect your bedding from both pet hair and dust during the day.

Related reading: Pet Hair Resistant Bedding - Best Picks in 2021

How often should you wash your sheets if your pet sleeps with you?

If you're allowing your pet to sleep in your bed, you should be extra careful about washing your sheets to keep your bed sanitary and hygienic. We recommend washing the sheets once a week, using hot water when washing, and putting them in the dryer if possible, to remove even more dust and pet hair.

How do you keep dogs off your bed?

So, what if you decide that it's better that your dog doesn't sleep in your bed. Maybe you're not getting a good night's sleep, or maybe the dander is giving you allergy symptoms.

First of all, it's always best if you start training your dog to sleep in its own bed at a young age. A comfortable pet bed will make them feel safe, and you can even add a plush toy to keep them company. If possible, keep the bed next to yours, so your pup is close to you and won't feel lonely.

If your dog is not a puppy anymore, and you've let him sleep in your bed before, you need to create a new routine. You need to teach him where he's supposed to sleep, and a blanket, crate, or dog bed is perfect for that. Placing it close to your bed will give your dog a sense of security, but if you want him to sleep outside the bedroom, place it in a favorite spot he uses during the day.

The problem here is that the owner needs to be consistent with the training. If your dog is not allowed on the bed during the night, it shouldn't be allowed there during the day either.

There are many ways to train a dog to stay off your bed. You can reward them for hopping down from the bed while saying "down," or you can add a suitable punishment like saying "no" or squirting water with a spray bottle when your dog jumps on the bed.

Ask your vet or a local dog trainer to help you out with the best methods. It all depends on your and your dog as different training methods work best for different individuals.

How do you keep cats off your bed?

If you want to keep your cat off your bed, there are a few good tricks you can try.

Ideally, you should start when your pet is just a small kitten, but older cats can be trained too if you stay consistent.

  1. First of all, get your cat a comfortable cat bed they will enjoy using. You'll want your cat feeling safe and secure in their own bed.
  2. Keep your bedroom door closed
  3. Try a repellant spray or cat training tape that keeps your cat off the bed while you are away. Aluminum foil works well, too, because most cats dislike weird noises.

Summing up – Should Pets Sleep in Your Bed?

The answer depends on the pet owner and the pet in question.

Some owners feel that they sleep better and love the warmth and security of having their pet close by. On the other hand, other pet owners hesitate to let the pet in the bed because they may carry dirt and bacteria, drool, or move around too much during the night.

Also, some owners get their pet a pet bed and place it in the bedroom, while others prefer their pet stays away from the bedroom altogether. In any case, it's up to you as the owners to decide which solution works the best for you and your pet.

References:

American Kennel Club. How to keep dogs off your bed and furniture, retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/how-to-keep-dogs-off-your-bed-furniture/

American Kennel Club. Should my dog sleep with me, retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/should-my-dog-sleep-with-me/

Ann Pietrangelo, Is It Good to Sleep with Your Dog in Bed?, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/sleeping-with-dogs#when-to-say-no

Christy L. Hoffman, Kaylee Stutz, Terrie Vasilopoulos, An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing, retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2018.1529354

Duthuluru S, Stevens D, Stevens S. Sleep quality due to co-sleeping with pets. Sleep. 2014;37:A189.

Megan A. Souter, Michelle D. Miller, Do Animal-Assisted Activities Effectively Treat Depression? A Meta-Analysis, retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175303707X207954

Preena Lowden, Corrin Wallis, Nancy Gee, Anthony Hilton, Investigating the prevalence of Salmonella in dogs within the Midlands region of the United Kingdom, retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574458/

Salma I. Patel, MD, Bernie W. Miller, Heidi E. Kosierek, James A. Parish, MD, Philip J. Lyng, MD, Lois M. Krahn, MD, The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in The Home Sleep Environment, retrieved from https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30486-X/fulltext

Matt Clayton

Matt Clayton

Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of PetHairPatrol.com and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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