Whenever I go through a pet store, I am always drawn to the cute, adorable dog and cat beds on display. I usually end up buying one or two of them — you can never have too many just in case your dog gets tired walking across the room and needs a sudden nap!
As a result I am the owner of about 15 dog beds. I only have 4 dogs, one cat and a husband, so 90% of the time, the beds are empty or serve as a convenient spot where the dogs can stash a few of their toys.
So where do they all sleep? Well…with my husband and me in our kingsize bed!
I suppose many people might find that appalling — yuck! Smelly dogs shedding all over my beautiful sheets! But it works for us and I suspect there are more than a handful of readers who totally get where I’m coming from.
Factors to Consider
There are many factors to consider when allowing your pets to sleep with you. You need to consider your own well-being and your pets. And I don’t think the giant breeds — Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Great Danes and the like — are necessarily great bed companions. But if owners want to sleep with them, that is fine with me.
Dogs are pack animals and as such they want to sleep with the pack leaders and rest of pack. They naturally think the pack leader’s bed is part of their den and head for it.
Hygiene is certainly an important issue to consider as well. You want to be sharing your bed with a clean dog or cat who does not have fleas or ticks or any skin disease or parasites. That is just common sense!
And, I would not share my bed with a dog who has a sleep disorder or who will end up “dis-ordering” my sleep! I had a Golden Retriever who was calm and peaceful when awake, but turned into Cujo when she slept. She would “run” in her sleep, grab anything she could find in her her mouth and just rip and tear and growl, bark and howl at the same time. She definitely belonged on the floor and was happy enough to be close to us.
Also, have you noticed that many dogs snore louder than any human ever could? I wouldn’t get much sleep sharing a pillow with of those, so that is another consideration.
Personally, I find it comforting to have my dogs and the cat in bed. My current canine buddies are small, Japanese Chin, and fit perfectly right down the middle of the bed, although usually they are snuggled up against one of us. It is so comforting to feel that warm, furry body next to you. They don’t really snore, but make little sleeping noises that are reassuring and much more appealing than a human snore.
And Mr. Muggles, the Persian cat, always sleeps in the bed — usually on my pillow with his whiskers tickling my face and a gentle purr coming from his throat. The dogs sleep quietly, don’t kick or wander around the bed. We have a dog ramp at end of bed for the dogs so they can get down for a drink of water or a quick “security check” around the house, but then usually back in the bed.
One other bonus I’ve noticed over the years is the comfort that animals give to humans who are sick and confined to bed. They just know that you don’t feel well and snuggle up and somehow make you feel better!
Yes, they are cover hogs and spread out to be comfortable. Yes, I have to squeeze myself into a small spot and quietly peel myself out of the bed in order to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night — you never want to disturb that animal! But I can’t imagine not having them in bed at night.
If you have doubts, take a 30 day “trial run” with your pet in bed with you and see what you think!
Carole Tomas is the owner and president of Pet Pleasers, Inc. She is a graduate of Ohio University and a Charter Member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. When she began Pet Pleasers in 1985, business was conducted Old School via a landline, snail mail and an answering machine the size of a breadbox. No internet, email, text messaging, digital photos, social media or mobile phones! What has remained constant over three decades: Carole’s love of animals and an unwavering passion for professional pet sitting.