My wife and I can’t agree on a serious topic: Should our pets be allowed to sleep in our bed with us at night? My wife says yes, that she enjoys having them with us, but I disagree. Can you help?
Bedroom Troubles in Garden Oaks
Dear Bedroom Troubles,
You bring up a divisive topic. According to www.vetstreet.com (a pet-related online newsletter), 83 percent 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?
Poor quality of sleep: A 75-pound dog plus two 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 greatly disrupt your sleep patterns.
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 and Prevention (CDC). MRSA was contracted by a married couple after their pup repeatedly licked their faces while sleeping with them in their bed. Also, sleeping with a dog can transfer fleas that increase the risk for contracting human plague, according to the CDC.
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 letting 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.
So, Bedroom Troubles, it could be argued that both you and your wife have valid points in this debate. It’s best to come to an agreement and to (first and foremost) make sure that the humans are getting proper rest in the bedroom (since they’re the ones, you know, making the money and supporting the pets’ spoiled-rotten lifestyles!). Maybe this means that you compromise with putting a pet bed near your bed and gradually training your pets that they’re not allowed on your bed anymore. The important thing is to keep the peace between you and your wife because, ultimately, a happy marriage makes for happy pets.
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