Affectionate, warm, and covered in soft fur, your dog may seem like an attractive bedtime cuddle buddy.
If you’ve ever welcomed your pet up onto your bed, you are not alone — not even close. An estimated 79 percent of pet owners share their beds with their pets. As reported by WebMD, a survey from the American Pet Products Association determined that 62 percent of small dogs, 41 percent of medium-sized dogs, and 32 percent of large dogs sleep in their human’s beds.
While it is natural for a dog to sleep with his “pack,” that doesn’t mean that people should engage in this activity. It’s best for Fido to have his own dog bed. Why? Because sleeping with dogs may have health implications for us. In fact, studies have found a number of health risks associated with sleeping with a dog in your bed, including:
Transmission of diseases
A study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that sharing a bed with a pet can result in the transmission of zoonotic agents that can cause serious infections. Zoonotic agents are things that can transmit disease from animals to humans, whether viruses, parasites, or insects. While this is rare among healthy pets, sick dogs can sometimes pass on diseases to humans when dog and master share the covers.
A more common issue associated with sleeping with pets is the effect it may have on allergies and asthma. Even if you don’t think that you have any pet allergies, sleeping in the same bed or even the same room as your dog can aggravate the smallest of symptoms and cause all kinds of problems.
If you’ve ever woken up to your pooch sleep-kicking you, vocalizing whatever doggy dreams she’s having, or frequently readjusting his sleeping space on your bed, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that studies have found bedding down with your dog can disturb your sleep. The Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that 53 percent of pet owners attributed sleep problems to their furry bedfellow. Though soft and cuddly, allowing your dog into your bed can make a good night’s sleep impossible.
In addition to health issues among humans, permitting dogs to sleep in human beds can cause behavioral problems for dogs, often affecting housebreaking and allowing aggression to develop.
The bottom line? Sleeping with your dog can cause problems for both of you. As difficult as it might be if you love the closeness of sleeping together, the best option is to provide your dog with his own bed. With time and training, your pet will learn to cuddle up in a dog bed every night, and leave human beds to the humans.
Do your dogs share the bed with you? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.