Should I Let My Pet Sleep In Bed With Me?
42% of dog owners sleep with their pets. It’s a decision that comes with complications and risks.
In a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorder Center, half of the participants’ sleep issues were exacerbated by pets that slept in the same bed. In total, 53% of pet owners that share a bed with their pet admit that the pet disturbs their sleep by kicking, relocating, sheet hogging and crowding.
In fairness, the Mayo Clinic also published a report that showed that people without sleep disorders slept better when the pet was in the bedroom (but not in the bed). Dogs, a natural group animal, prefer to spend time in the same room as the rest of the members of their ‘pack’ and it seems to provide reassurance to pet owners when their pets sleep in the same room.
Even if you aren’t directly allergic to your dog, you may be allergic to pollen, dirt and other allergens that your pet is exposed to outside and brings into your bed on his fur or paws. These allergens affect the quality of your sleep and your sense of well being in general.
YES! If your dog goes outside in Rockland County, ticks can get on your dog and get on you when your pet is in bed. While flea bites are annoying and a potential source for disease in humans, tick bites are unequivocally dangerous for both pets and people. At Animal Medical, roughly 1 in 13 dogs test positive for a serious tick born disease, but what’s on the horizon is worse. Powassan virus, a disease that leaves 50% of those infected permanently maimed, is also transmitted by ticks and is on the rise in our area. If you sleep with your pet, veterinary approved year round flea tick medication is mandatory.
Dog's Testing Positive for Lyme Disease
Dogs Testing Positive for Anaplasmosis
Thankfully, no client of ours has ever contracted an intestinal parasite or bacterial infection from his or her pet, but the threat is still real. Close contact with your animal puts you at most risk for Campylobacteriosis, salmonella, and parasitic worm infection. Have your pet’s stool tested annually for intestinal parasites and keep your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative that also limits infection by parasitic worms. Remember that feeding your pet raw meat exposes you and your family to potential salmonella infection
In some cases, dogs that sleep with two people partners develop guarding behavior towards one of the bed partners. Guarding behavior is most often confined to growling, but some dogs become more aggressive with time, bare teeth and even bite. While guarding behavior may be initially cute, it can be just the beginning of growing list of annoying behavioral issues. If your dog has aggressive tendencies, inside or outside of the bed, we encourage you to reach out to Dr. Lisa Schenkel for advice on how to train this behavior out of your pet.
Dogs usually begin to develop some kind of arthritis as they grow older. Jumping in and out of the bed is painful for these pets. Stiff dogs can fall when jumping from the height of a typical bed and dog breeds prone to back issues, like Dachsunds, are especially at risk for serious injury. As pets age, they may have bladder control issues. Just one accident can cause you a lot of clean up time and maybe a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for some replacement sheets. When deciding if you want your pet to share your bed with you, consider whether or not you’re willing (and able) to lift your pet in and out of bed when he or she is old.
Have We Debbie Downed You Enough?
Look, most of us at Animal Medical sleep with our pets. Numerous studies affirm that having a pet in one’s life increases one’s happiness, lengthens one’s life, and helps people remain fit. But pets that misbehave, that significantly compromise our way of life, that cause a lot of extra work, that cause us to lose sleep, that blow bad breath in our faces every day, can wear on our patience. These are the pets that people end up abandoning or ignoring over time. Train your pet to be respectful when he or she walks with you and while you eat. Consider putting boundaries on where your pet can and cannot sleep in the house. Acknowledging your boundaries and then training your pet to respect those boundaries isn’t being an unloving pet parent; it’s being a responsible one.
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