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08th Mar 2024

Should we be letting dogs sleep in bed with us? Experts explain

Sophie Collins


Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or are newly welcoming a furry friend into the family, there are differing opinions on what access they have to your home.

For some, the belief is that dogs should remain outside animals and only venture inside if it’s a shed or space away from the family home.

For others, their pets have a run of the house and can access wherever they’d like to for their afternoon naps.

There is a middle ground, where some pets are kept in the house but they’re confined to just part of it.

Whatever group you fall into, research has shown one particularly intimate aspect of pet ownership that has garnered attention; the practice of letting pets sleep in the same bed as their owners. 

According to research from Petmania in 2023, 30% of Irish family dogs stretch out and sleep in their owners bed each night. 

While some may find this arrangement heartwarming, others find it bizarre and unhygienic.

Sleep expert Ashley Hainsworth from Bed Kingdom has examined the pros and cons of this to shed light on whether it’s a suitable choice for pet owners, or should be avoided for health reasons.

Benefits of Sharing Your Bed with Pets 

1. Improved Sleep Quality:

Falling asleep with a pet by your side can elevate endorphin levels, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. 

This calming effect can facilitate quicker onset of sleep, which is especially beneficial for individuals struggling with insomnia.

2. Enhanced Sense of Security:

For those living alone, sharing a bed with a pet can boost feelings of security and comfort. 

The reassuring presence of a furry companion can significantly elevate one’s sense of safety, leading to better sleep quality. 

3. Increased Warmth:

Body temperature plays a crucial role in determining sleep quality. Snuggling up to a warm pet during the night can provide much-needed warmth, promoting relaxation and facilitating sleep. 

4. Bonding and Relationship Strengthening:

Sharing a bed with a pet fosters a deeper bond and understanding between owner and animal. 

This closeness allows for better communication and mutual understanding, ultimately enhancing the pet-owner relationship. 

Risks Associated with Sharing Your Bed with Pets 

1. Sleep Disruption:

Pets are active creatures, prone to movement during the night. 

This constant shifting and readjusting may disrupt the owner’s sleep patterns, leading to sleep disturbances and fatigue. 

2. Hygiene Concerns:

Pets can carry dirt, fleas, ticks, and other unwanted guests in their fur. 

Maintaining proper hygiene becomes crucial to prevent the transfer of these contaminants to the bed, potentially causing allergies or discomfort. 

3. Behavioural Issues:

Allowing pets to sleep in the same bed may contribute to separation anxiety or behavioural problems in some cases. 

Owners should remain vigilant for signs of distress or disruptive behaviour and seek professional guidance if necessary. 

So, is Sharing Your Bed with Pets Right for You?

While there are undeniable benefits of sharing a bed with pets, including improved sleep quality and strengthened bonds, it’s essential to weigh these against potential drawbacks such as hygiene concerns and sleep disruption. 

Ultimately, the decision to allow pets in the bed should be based on individual preferences, lifestyle, and the temperament of the pet. As Ashley Hainsworth wisely advises, “No one knows our pets like we do. 

“When deciding whether to let your pets share the bed, you should consider several different factors, such as your lifestyle, sleeping habits, and your pet’s temperament. It has clear benefits, but the risks shouldn’t be disregarded either. 

“Keep an eye on how things progress, but if sleeping with your pet works for you, that is the most important thing.”