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Should My Pet Sleep in My Bed?

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Should My Pet Sleep in My Bed?


By Dr. Justine Lee, PetMD

Did you know that an estimated 14 to 62 percent of pet owners let their dogs or cats sleep on their beds? In my book†Itís a Dogís Life … but Itís Your Carpet, I explain why this is OKÖ

Donít worry ó youíre not the only one out there who lets that muddy-pawed monstrosity jump on your bed. Over thirty-one million people in the US do it, too. Thatís almost 56% of pet owners! So why do so many otherwise sane and clear-headed adults let their hound-dogs have their way? Well, while Cliffy, Fido, and Fluffy may shed, hog the covers, drool, dream, and snore while in bed, theyíll never leave your bedside or cheat on you! And Iíve got to say, dogs can be awfully snuggly, like a full body pillow with a built-in heater, which helps during long Minnesota winters. And Iím speaking from experience here.

Well, now weíre getting some grief on why we†shouldnít sleep with our pets. Emerging Infectious Diseases, in conjunction with the CDC, released an article called “Zoonoses in the Bedroom.” Zoonoses are diseases that animals can spread to people. In this article, they give a few scary examples: A man developed meningitis, which was possibly due to him allowing his dog to sleep under the covers with him and†lick his hip replacement wound. In another case, a young boy got plague after having his flea-infested cat sleep him.

While this article appropriately discussed the risks of sleeping with pets, itís important to keep in mind that some of these diseases are extremely rare Ö especially when you think about some of the 30+ million people who do so without any problems.

While I think itís important to acknowledge these zoonotic risks, your danger lies more with that 2-legged person next to you! Personally, I love sleeping with my pets. They add more warm to the bed, they bond to me while Iím sleeping, and I simply feel closer to them when they are snuggling with me. Iím aware of therare risks of sleeping with my pets. In fact, as we speak, my body is in the process of healing some 10-15 ringworm lesionsÖ (but more about this horrible fungus in a later blog). Point is, if in exchange for pet-loviní, it means that I have to smear tough-actiní Tinactin on my ringworm lesions every few decades, Iíll take the risk.

What I do love about the article is this: First, itís written by veterinarians who are experts in the field, and they admit that “the risk of getting sick from sleeping with, kissing, or being licked by pets is real, but the risk can be reduced by keeping pets healthy. Regular veterinary care is key to having a healthy pet and enjoying the benefits of pet ownership.” Agreed!

Bluntly: donít exchange bodily fluids with your pets! Letting them lick at your wounds? Letís use common sense here, folks!

Next page: situations where I donít recommend sleeping with your pet

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, Safety

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit


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8:27AM PST on Feb 10, 2015

I am surprised to hear a trainer say that it is alright to have a dog sleep on the bed with you. I would think that most trainers would advise to have restricted areas where dogs are not allowed. I like your point about them being a good companion though. I definitely feel less guilty about letting my dogs sleep on my bed with me now.

3:26AM PST on Nov 10, 2014

Hmm!! This blog is really cool, I’m so lucky that I have reached here and got this awesome information. dog beds for bull dogs

7:34PM PDT on Aug 4, 2014

whether it's good or bad, we don't get a say.....they win

12:04PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

I love love love to be in bed with my two sweeties!

7:34AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013


4:50AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

Thanks for sharing

3:37PM PDT on Jul 4, 2013

most nights, my grandchildren will sleep with me. the cats know when its bedtime

5:56PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

I have several hounds, so having all of them in my double bed means I get the couch (it has happened). My 13 basset always sleeps with me. We are never apart and as her breed has an average 10 year life expectancy, each moment is a bonus and thus very precious. The fosters rotate and are fine with it. Most of them have a far better life here than they've ever had before, so that helps me sleep better, too.

5:41PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

It helps me sleep ^_^

12:31AM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

I snuggle with my 3 dogs and love it!!! A healthy clean pet is welcome in my bed!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thanks for sharing.

Very helpful article thank you for sharing.

Some good ideas ☺



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