Cuddling up with your dog has to be one of the best parts of canine ownership. These lovable, furry friends have been proven to be wonderful for our health, lowering our stress, cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as our blood pressure. Owning a pet can also decrease feelings of loneliness, solitude and depression and incite us to look after ourselves. Dogs in particular encourage us to become healthier as they need and love to be played with and walked at least several times each day.
Many people love to cuddle up with their canine pal on the sofa, but some take their companionship a little further. There tends to be two types of dog owner - those who have very set boundaries for where their beloved pooch is allowed to chill out with them, and those who let their dogs go anywhere and everywhere, including in their bed.
In the United States, more than 60% of households have a dog, and around half of those owners allow their pets to sleep in their bed with them. While this may seem like a kind thing to do and great way to bond with your pet, the reality is that there are a number of risks you take in letting your furbaby share the same sleep space as you.
Increased exposure to disease
Most of us spend a great deal of time in our beds. If we were to get an average of 8 hours a night (wishful thinking for some people, we know!), we would spend around 2,920 hours, or 121.6 days of each year, just inches from our pets. While this may not pose a problem if you are both perfectly healthy. However, there are many different viruses, illnesses and germs that can be spread from animal to human, and vice versa, some of which can be very serious. Unfortunately, is not always easy to tell when your pet is unwell as they aren’t able to verbalize feeling under the weather. You also need to consider that many viruses are contagious before any symptoms become apparent. Therefore, there is an element of risk to both your health (and your children if you let them in your bed too) and that of your dog if you choose to share a bed.
Setting up a habit that is hard to break
Letting your precious pooch share your bed might not pose too much of an inconvenience if you would normally sleep alone. However, if you then decide that you no longer want your furbaby as your night time companion, such as if you get a partner, getting Fido out of your bed might prove harder than you think!
You don’t have to be allergic to your dog for your furry best pal to trigger your allergies. Animals come into contact with many different things during the day – pollen, dust, smoke to name just a few. Unless you are giving Rover a full bath before every bedtime, he is undoubtedly transferring some of the allergens onto your bedding – where you are just about to spend a good percentage of your time inhaling and brushing up against them. Allergic reactions are miserable, causing anything from itching and rashes to full blown anaphylactic shock.
In some ways sharing a bed with a dog is much like sharing one with a human. If your canine tosses and turns, makes noise or takes up too much space, your quality of sleep is going to suffer. Repeatedly poor sleep at can, at best, make you cranky, irritable and short-tempered. However, it can also affect your concentration, personal relationships and even put your life or someone else’s at risk of you drive or operate machinery when tired. If you work in a job that is high risk anyway, such as construction, then you could furthermore be risking your career and the safety of your colleagues as well as yourself.
Our advice? Think long and hard before you let your pampered pooch into your bed. You don’t necessarily know what you may be letting yourself in for. Contact us today for further advice.