Pets and Sleep

October 30, 2019

Pets and Sleep

My husband and I have a cat named Carrie. She’s been part of our family for over 12 years. As she has gotten older, her personality has evolved. This once timid and nearly silent cat now informs us, verbally and loudly, when she is hungry or wants attention. In the past, we kept her out of the bedroom when we slept because her nightly antics would wake my light-sleeping self. As she has matured, however, she has learned that she has a special place atop our bed. Specifically, we laid a blanket at the foot of the bed which we lovingly refer to as "Carrie's blanket". Carrie knows that if she lays anywhere other than on her blanket, she may be accidentally kicked or we might otherwise bother her. In general, though, we find that having her in bed with us is not a problem. Quite the opposite, as we rather enjoy her company. We aren't alone when it comes to sleeping with pets on the bed. The CDC estimates that more than 50% of American dog owners sleep with their dog next to them. This leads me to question, is it a good idea to sleep with your pets in your bed?

There are some pros to sleeping with your furry friends:

  • Falling asleep more quickly - Some people claim that when they let their pet sleep in the bed with them, they fall asleep more quickly.
  • Lower levels of stress and anxiety - Having your furry friend by your side can instill a sense of security which can, in turn, lower your levels of stress and anxiety.
  • Sense of contentment and relaxation - Your pet may cause you to feel content and relaxed. It's no wonder that therapy animals to assist with anxiety-related disorders have become increasingly popular recently.
  • Bonding experience - Allowing your pet to sleep in your bed can create a bond between the two of you.
  • Unconditional love - Your dog, and even your cat, can provide you with unconditional love. That feeling emanates and helps us to think calming thoughts, which can help us to sleep.
  • Wrapped in warmth - In cooler evenings, snuggling next to your pet can provide a warming comfort that sheets just can't provide.

There are also cons when sharing our beds:

  • Allergies - If you are allergic to animal dander, then having a furry animal sleep in the bed with you would no be advisable. Though you can take antihistamines or other medications to help minimize symptoms from these allergens, it's best to have your pet sleep in another room if you are allergic.
  • Sleep disturbances - As a human, you understand that you sleep at night, but your pet might not grasp this same understanding. They may even try to wake you to play with them or to give them attention.
  • Inadequate intimacy - By having a pet in your bed along with your partner, you may in-turn be taking away from intimate moments.
  • Disease carriers - Though you may think that your puppy is pristine, any time he goes outdoors he comes in contact with pathogens that can be transmitted to you.

You may opt to have your pet sleep with you or in a special bed of its own. There is no conclusive right or wrong answer between the two, just what is right for you and your pet. My husband and I will continue to let Carrie rule the roost. She will sleep on our bed on her blanket. Occasionally, she will wake me from my slumber, and I am okay with that. I will take her unconditional love in return any day.

Don’t forget! If you would like to purchase pillows or bedsheets and have them donated directly to Broward County Animal Care and Adoption, please call us at 850-367-1100 or send us an email at

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