More than half of pet owners admit to sleeping with their dog. Although sharing a bed with your dog can be a pleasant moment for owners, it is important to take into account the potential health risks for the animal and the human. Some veterinarians warn that sharing your bed with your dog can be risky, especially during the winter months.
One of the main concerns is overheating.
During cold spells, dogs are more likely to snuggle up in your bed under the covers for warmth. However, if you lie down on thick blankets and duvets, some dogs may have trouble getting out of bed if they get too hot, according to this veterinary researcher.
“Very small dogs, puppies, senior dogs and dogs with arthritis or other mobility issues may have trouble finding a safe exit if they get too hot,” said Katy Alexander, manager of veterinary research at Blue Cross in the UK, at The Telegraph.
There is also some evidence that sharing your bed with your dog can impact sleep quality. A 2020 study found that having a dog in bed increased people’s movement during the night. Although none of the participants reported sleep problems, the movement could have indicated that they were not sleeping as soundly as they thought.
That’s only one side of the argument, though. Some research has indicated that bed sharing with pets is not linked to any effect on sleep quality.
Other studies have suggested that sharing your bed with your dog might affect sleep quality, but the impact is very slight.
A number of other studies have looked at the pros and cons of having a dog in bed to conclude that it could actually improve the well-being of pet owners.
According to a 2018 study by researchers at Central Queensland University in Australia, women who slept with their dogs near them felt safer and more comfortable at night. However, for the cats , this closeness seemed to disturb their sleep.
The researchers also noted that many cultures throughout history have shared beds with pets, indicating that this may be beneficial for some owners and animals.
Pets can also disturb owners’ sleep by fidgeting or snoring.
Ultimately, sharing a bed with a pet can be a fun time for owners, but owners should consult a veterinarian to discuss potential risks and ways to minimize them.