Sleeping with pets can mean always waking up in a good mood, or with a sore neck. There are just as many reasons to allow your pets to co-sleep as there are to have them sleep in their own beds or crates. Not sure if you want to welcome your animals into your bed? Here are some of the pros and cons.
Sleep Quality Matters Most
When you don’t get a good nights’ sleep, nothing goes right for the rest of the day.
Even if you were in bed for 8 hours, if your sleep was interrupted, or you couldn’t get into a comfortable position, you may not have been able to transition through healthy 90-minute sleep cycles, so you may not be achieving deep, truly restful sleep. If you’re waking up and changing positions throughout the night to accommodate your pets, co-sleeping might be ruining your quality of sleep.
However, you might feel stressed at the end of the day, and find it difficult to shut off your stream of worries and thoughts. You might find it easier to fall asleep with the help of your furry friends. Their company may make you feel secure, and their rhythmic breathing can lull you to sleep.
How Co-Sleeping Affects Training and Behavior
You may have heard that allowing your dog on your bed causes behavior problems. A dog that sleeps in bed with their owner will not know who the “Alpha” is, and will be disobedient and disrespectful throughout the day. This is a common myth, there’s no evidence that co-sleeping causes behavioral issues.
Professional dog trainer Jill Breitner recommends allowing new puppies to sleep in your bed to facilitate bonding, while teaching them to enjoy spending time in their crate during the day. Puppies are used to sleeping with their littermates. Before they can be trained to sleep alone, they need to transition into your home while feeling safe and secure – which can actually prevent separation anxiety.
Even so, co-sleeping can make existing behavioral issues worse. A dog who guards resources, growling and biting to protect their favorite food or toys, may also guard a comfy spot on the bed. If you suddenly have to discontinue co-sleeping, your dog might protest if they’re moved from the comfy bed to a lonely crate.
Is Sleeping with Pets Hygienic?
Though most cats spend a majority of their time indoors, dogs are in and out all day, picking up dirt, pollen, and who-knows-what-else on their paws and coat.
You can wipe your dog’s paws when they come inside, but if they come into bed with you, they’ll still be bringing the outdoors with them. Cats may carry litter residue on their paws. Pets may also have potty accidents or vomit overnight. They certainly do affect your hygiene, one way or another.
If you’re concerned about hygiene, but want to sleep with your pets, you can teach them to sleep at the foot of your bed on a separate blanket. You can also wash your sheets more frequently.
Do you sleep with your pets?
Whether you sleep with or without your pets, they’ll know that you love them all the same. As long as they have a comfy place to sleep and quality time with you during the day, they’ll be happy.
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