Co-sleeping with one’s pet (or pets) is a long-standing topic of debate among pet owners, and the consensus is split fifty-fifty. There are not hard and fast rules to it, but there are some factors that you should consider before choosing a side.
Yes, let’s cuddle…
If sleeping with your pet soothes you. Having a companion at night can help alleviate depression to an extent. The connection you share with your pet, and feeling the unconditional love from them, might just be mood-booster you need. There are also those who might feel safer when sleeping with their dog — a child who is afraid of the dark, for instance, or someone who lives alone.
If everyone okays it. At the end of the day, it all boils down to whether or not all occupants of the bed — furry or otherwise — are comfortable with the arrangement.
If your pet can sleep through the night without needing to “go”. Otherwise, you will either wake up to their poop on your bedroom floor or your sleep will be disrupted to take them out to go potty.
If your pet is of the right size. Pets who are too big might take up more of the bed than you do and cause discomfort. On the other hand, pets who are too small might fall off the bed or end up crushed beneath your weight. It might also be best to put off co-sleeping with young pets until they reach their maximal size. They might grow up to be too big; it will be tough to wean them off co-sleeping then.
No entry into the bedroom…
If you are potty-training your pet. Putting your furkid in a crate between toilet trips is helpful as you housetrain them. The idea is for them to recognise where is “home”, and where is “toilet”. If you allow them on your bed, they might learn that the bed is “home” and anywhere off the bed can be potty corner. That’s how you end up with poop on your bedroom floor, as mention in a previous point. Smaller kittens and puppies may even relief themselves at the end of the bed if they deem it far enough from where they sleep.
If you are allergic or asthmatic. Pet owners who suffer from either should take a few hours a day to recover in a room sans pets. Even if you are not allergic to dogs or cats per se, your pet might carry other allergens back with them after a trip outside. In fact, veterinarian Dr Carol Osborne suggests decontaminating your pet’s feet with one part rubbing alcohol and one part water after it has been outdoors.
If your dog is aggressive. By nature, even the most adorable pooch can get territorial or over-protective. They might start to “guard” the bed (Hey, who’s the boss here?) and attack anyone who tries to get on it. Otherwise, they might be “protecting” you and become hostile towards your spouse who wants to join you in bed, or vice versa. Even if you do not face this problem, it is wise to train your pet to come into bed with you only after you invite them to.
If your pet has separation anxiety. Keeping them in your company all the time, even during bedtime, is counterproductive. They will whine and your heart will become jelly, but the long-term solution is to let them practice feeling secure even in your absence.
If it adversely affects your sleep in any way. If your pet snores, or barks or meows, or stares at you unnervingly as you try to snooze, or wakes up in the middle of night with a spurt of energy — if any of this bothers you, you might be better off sleeping without them.