Can Sleeping with Your Pet Affect Your Health?

Can Sleeping with Your Pet Affect Your Health?

Sleeping with Fido and how it affects your sleep health

Got a pet? Curling up with a beloved pet and drifting off to dreamland is a blissful end to the day for many pet owners. According to the National Pet Owners Survey, 45% of dogs and 62% of cats, sleep in their owners’ beds, which means if you allow your pet to sleep with you, you’re not alone. But can that cuddling with Fido every night be affecting your sleep and health?

Risk of allergies

Derek Damin of Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Louisville, KY, says people who suffer from pet allergies or asthma should not sleep with their dog or cat or even allow them in the bedroom. Runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing caused by allergies can make it hard for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. “Use a HEPA filter and keep them out of the bedroom to give your nose a few hours a day to recover,” Damin says. However, if shutting the bedroom door on your pet isn’t an option, Damin recommends allergy shots to build up a tolerance to the pet dander that causes allergic reactions. 

Risk of disease

In 2011, the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) warned that allowing pets to sleep in the bed can be dangerous and can spread zoonoses, pathogens that go from animals to people. These pathogens can make you ill, which can make it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep. Lucy O’Byrne, a veterinarian at the West Village Veterinary Hospital in Manhattan says, “As long as you have good flea and tick control, and keep your pet healthy the way most people do, you don’t have to worry.” 

Sleep disruption

Pets have long been known to disrupt sleep, whether it’s due to their barks and meows, animated dreams of chasing cars or allergic reactions they might trigger. In a recent study among pet owners who slept with their four-legged companions, 30% reported waking up because of their pets at least once a night. 

Good news for folks who like to sleep with their pets

Sharing your bed with your pet can create a sense of safety, security and comfort. It just feels good. All the benefits that house pets provide, including lower blood pressure and reduced stress and feelings of loneliness, are magnified when your pet sleeps with you.

Whether you choose to let Fido join you in bed or not, there is no denying the amount of love and joy he brings into your life.

Do you let your pet sleep with you? Share your thoughts with us. We love hearing from you.