I’m newly married and my wife doesn’t want our pets to sleep in our bed with us. She thinks that we’ll get fleas. I’ve always let my pets sleep with me, so this is causing some friction in our home. What are the advantages and disadvantages to letting our animals sleep with us?
Honeymoon is over in The Heights
Dear Honeymoon Over,
It’s a divisive topic: Should you allow your pets to sleep in your bed with you? According to www.vetstreet.com, (a pet-related online newsletter) 83% of Vet Street readers allow their pets to sleep with them. This begs the question: Is it a good idea to let your pet sleep in your bed or not?
Poor quality of sleep: A 75 pound dog, plus 2 adult humans in a queen-sized bed isn’t ideal, so space can become a sleep issue with large pets. Even a small dog or cat who isn’t keen on sleeping for an 8 hour stretch without getting playful can disrupt your sleep patterns greatly.
Risk of disease and parasites: Meningitis, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and even the plague have been transmitted to humans through dog licks, kisses and saliva, according to the Centers for Disease Control. MRSA was contracted by a married couple after their pup repeatedly licked their faces while sleeping with him in their bed. Also, sleeping with a dog can transfer fleas that increase the risk for contracting human plague, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Be the boss in bed: Dog trainer, Cesar Millan warns against letting your dog be the boss of the bed. Millan says that, “while you may want to share your bed with your new dog, don’t do this right away.” Instead, Millan suggests establishing a neutral sleeping location for your dog and let him get used to the sleeping arrangements. If you would like your dog to join you in bed, do so by invitation only and never allow him to enter your room on his own or crawl onto the bed uninvited.
Allergies: If you’re allergic to pet dander, allowing your pet to sleep in your bed can greatly escalate this problem. Contrary to popular belief, allergies aren’t caused by your pet’s fur, but instead by proteins in his urine, saliva and flakes of skin, or dander. Dander is as small and light as dust particles, making it easily inhaled. It also clings to sheets, pillows and blankets.
These all sound like serious disadvantages, so why do so many people opt to let their pets sleep with them?
Many pet owners wouldn’t dream of sleeping without their pets. The mere act of petting your companion animal before bed can be relaxing and studies show, even lower your blood pressure. Many cat owners claim that the purring of their favorite feline at bedtime is also soothing and rest-inducing, aiding in a restful night’s sleep. Hopefully with some time and compromise, you and your new spouse can come to an agreement that suits everyone in the household at bedtime.
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