Is It OK for Pets to Sleep in the Bed?
We asked three of our Advisory Board members: Do you think it's OK to let pets sleep in the bed?
Mike Arms, President Helen Woodward Animal Center: Not only do I think it’s ok, but to be honest, my pets allow me to sleep in the bed with them.
Nancy Taylor, President and CEO, Bideawee: Letting a pet sleep in the bed is really a personal choice, but there are things that any pet partner should consider before making that decision. It’s important to know that once you start allowing your dog or cat to sleep in the bed, they begin to expect it. It’s easy to understand that it would feel bad to a pet to be in a nice cozy human bed one week, and then the next week to be on the floor. Even if it's a dog or cat bed, most pets know the difference!
If you are even thinking about letting your animal in your bed, think about the other unwanted pets that you might be letting in the bed as well. Especially if you have a dog or cat that goes outside, other animals may make their way into your bed (fleas or ticks for example). Make sure your dog or cat has the proper flea and tick medication to keep this under control. And cleaning your dog with a wipe when coming inside can also help.
Finally, it is a good idea to make sure that your pet wants to “share” the bed with you, not take it over. There are many dogs that will sleep in the owner’s bed, and when the unsuspecting person gets up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, the dog does not let him or her back in. It is important to "check in" with your dog and practice giving the command "up" (allowing him to jump on the bed) and "off" (telling him to get off the bed). If your dog listens without issue to both commands, then you should be ok. If he does not, then training may be in order before allowing this privilege, as safety is the most important thing. Allowing your pet into bed is a personal decision. However, careful consideration should be made before doing this, as we know that it is hard to change behavior once it is practiced.
Marcie Campion, Ph.D., Scientific Relations Manager, Iams Company: Our pets are part of our family and it’s fine to share a bed with them as long as it’s safe and comfortable for everyone.
First, pets should be current on their vaccinations and free of parasites like ticks, fleas and worms that can transmit diseases to humans. If you have small pets, make sure they can’t roll off the bed or get rolled on, which could result in a broken bone or suffocation. Sometimes “doggy breath” can be an issue too!
Be sure to feed your pet a food that can help reduce tartar buildup and keep their teeth and gums healthy, like Eukanuba dog food with DentaDefense. A premium diet will also help keep your pet at a healthy weight, making it easier for them to get on the bed and help minimize snoring. If your pet needs to lose a few pounds, your veterinarian can assess their weight and recommend a reduced fat and calorie diet like Iams Weight Control. These simple guidelines will help you and your pet get a good night’s sleep, but you’ll have to talk to someone else about your spouse’s snoring.