This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on April 26, 2018
The debate about whether or not pets should be allowed to sleep in the bedroom has been a longstanding one. Thankfully, two recent articles have explored some of the pros and cons. While the New York Times explains the mental health benefits behind snuggling with your feline or canine friends, Realtor.com considers whether or not sleepers should be concerned with the germs they bring into the mix. Ultimately, the general consensus seems to be that it's perfectly ok to allow your pet to sleep in your bed or bedroom – with some caveats, of course.
In a recent study from the Mayo Clinic, researchers studied whether or not pets disrupt their owners’ sleep. By tracking 40 adult dogs who shared bedrooms with their owners (who did not have any sleep disorders), the clinic determined that the humans were not terribly disrupted, with most of the participants sleeping just fine. Details like a dog's temperament, personal sleeping disorders, snoring from either party and more should figure into your decision to share your bed with your dog – but generally, pets are proven not to be too disruptive to sleep. In fact, they may even make great cuddle buddies.
While sleep disruption may not be the reason to avoid sharing your bed, Natalie Way, associate editor at realtor.com, wondered if germs could spread between a human and canine companion if they shared a bed. In her article, she uses her own dog, Abbey, who sometimes digs in the garbage as an example. "Abbey loves pawing through garbage; I was once horrified to catch her chomping on a dried, dead squirrel,” Way explained. “Might having her lounge on our bed increase the odds that my husband or I could catch ... something?"
After speaking with a veterinarian specialist, Way learned that healthy dogs and owners have little to fear and that most veterinarians also share their beds with their pets. While her research yielded an affirmative conclusion, she did pick up some tips and facts to help owners maintain a hygienic shared sleeping space.
You can get diseases from your dog (but it's unlikely)
Mange and ringworm are two skins diseases you can contract from your dog, but both are rare among people and very treatable. You would likely be aware if your dog had either of these issues - and that information may also figure into your decision to allow your dog to occupy your bed. Additionally, most pets can carry fleas and ticks. That's why it is important to always check your pet over for ticks and keep them on preventative medicine to ward off fleas.
Keeping your pet and your space clean can also help maintain health
It seems like common sense, but should you share a bed with any pet (especially one that sheds) it's important to change your sheets regularly. If your pet goes outside often, which is definitely the case for dogs, be sure to keep them clean as well. Additionally, air purifiers can help those with any allergies, but if you do have severe asthma or allergies, it's probably smart to make your bedroom a dog-free zone.
For people who make a habit of sharing their bed with Fido, there are plenty of sleep products that can help them maintain an overall better sleep environment -- from antimicrobial mattress protectors and sheets to temperature-regulating and airflow-promoting mattresses. Of course, there are plenty of bedding companies making high-quality pet beds too – a great option for all of those pet-loving customers out there who maybe want a little space from their furry friend.
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