It’s 10pm and 27 year-old Nadiah Nayyar is tucking herself into bed. A few minutes later, her British Shorthair jumps into the single bed as well and finds a comfy spot at the foot of Nadiah’s bed. If this were to happen in Carol Chan’s bed, the 30-year-old public servant would have a fright. “I love my cats but would never let them into my bed!” she exclaims.
This illustrates the “bed-or-no-bed” issue that divides many pet lovers; in fact, the American Pet Products Association found that it’s neatly split in two, with half preferring their pet in their beds and half despising it. Whichever side you lie on, here are some things to remember when it comes to bringing your pet into your bed.
1. ALLERGENS ABOUND
Cats and dogs often bring dirt, grass and pollen back home from their outdoor adventures. This can spell disaster for those who struggle with asthma and skin sensitivities, since these are often allergens. Constant exposure to fur and dander can also exacerbate symptoms. But if sleeping with your pet is non-negotiable, place a HEPA filter in the bedroom to reduce reactions.
2. THE POWER OF COMPANIONSHIP
Sleeping with your pet next to you actually has myriad benefits for both you and your pet. Cosleeping increases the amount of time you get to spend with your furry friend. In instances where you’re away from home throughout the day, it may help reduce stress and feelings of loneliness your pet may experience, according to the American Kennel Club.
Sleeping next to your four-legged buddy can also improve your mental wellbeing. That’s because it fosters a sense of safety, which will have you feeling well-rested the next day.
3. HYGIENE HANDBOOK
While it may carry quite a low risk, bringing your pet into bed with you may bring in fleas and ticks, as well as any possible infections your pet may be carrying. However, there’s no reason to be alarmed as long as you take your pet to the vet regularly.
With the average, healthy pet, there is a very low risk of illnesses being transmitted. Another downside of co-sleeping with an animal is the fact that they carry fecal matter. If your pet wanders around outside, it probably steps in and plays around poop.
In the same way that you wouldn’t wear your shoes into bed, you should note that your pet may probably carry some of the outside in with it when you welcome it into your bed. Beat this hurdle by always washing your pet’s feet after time outdoors.
4. TOSS AND TURN
Another main concern of snoozing with your pet is creating a disruption in your nightly routine. If you’ve ever slept next to a partner, you should realise that sleeping with a pet is no different.
There’s tossing and turning, and maybe even a fight for space. As a loving pet owner, it can be tough moving your sleeping fur baby to make more room for yourself. However, a study by Mayo Clinic found that sleeping with a dog did not compromise on sleep quality. And a sleep specialist from that clinic also observed that a purring cat was conducive to sleep and aided in destressing!
5. IS IT SAFE
A big concern when co-sleeping with pets is accidentally hurting them when you’re asleep. Such incidents, unfortunately, do happen, and there really is no preventing them. While it may be tough keeping a whining Chihuahua out of the bedroom, it might really for their own good. But of course, if your ‘baby’ is a giant Alaskan Malamute, your concerns might be very different!