Should Pets be Allowed on Their Owners' Beds?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to allow pets on beds is an individual one. Animals and people have a long history of sleeping together, after all, especially in cold weather. Most veterinarians who specialize in animal behavior agree that allowing pets on beds is not harmful, and may in fact deepen the relationship you have with your animals. Furthermore, as many cat owners know, animals deeply enjoy spending the majority of their time where they are not allowed.

Most veterinarians agree that allowing pets on beds is not harmful.
Most veterinarians agree that allowing pets on beds is not harmful.

There are a few circumstances in which allowing pets on beds may not be a good idea. Individuals who suffer from allergies, for example, should not sleep with their pets because pet dander may aggravate their allergies. If an animal is older and incontinent, allowing the pet to sleep on the bed may result in frequent clean-up. If this is the case, you may want to consider purchasing a sleeping pad or special diapers for the animal if you would like to continue allowing it on the bed. If you have large pets such as big dogs and you also sleep with an infant, you may want to banish the dogs until the infant is larger.

Some owners should not sleep with ther pets because dander may aggravate their allergies.
Some owners should not sleep with ther pets because dander may aggravate their allergies.

Owners who allow pets on beds should be aware that humans can suffer from fleas as well. Flea control is important for the health of your pet and general comfort around the house, but it becomes crucial if owners permit pets on beds. There a number of flea control options ranging from chemical solutions to natural ones which will eliminate this problem. Pet aggression can also be a problem, especially with dogs. If a dog growls or threatens to bite, he or she should be banished from the bedroom until better manners can be learned.

Sharing the bed with pets can be psychologically soothing. Many studies have suggested that people with animals live happier lives and tend to be more emotionally balanced. Animals are skilled at recognizing needs, and will comfort people who are stressed out or unhappy. Allowing pets on beds also encourages them to be thought of as members of the family, and will result in a deeper and more satisfying relationship for all parties. Many animal owners also feel that allowing pets on beds provides an instant security system, as most species will react to the sounds of a break in, fire, or any other type of threat.

Some pet owners experience sleep problems because their animals want to play at night, instead of sleeping along with their owners. If this is the case, exercising and playing with animals during the day can help to tire them out for the evening. Cats, especially, are notorious for wanting to adventure at night, and may take some time to settle down at bed time. If the problems continue, not allowing pets on beds is an option, although you may have to ban them from the bedroom as well.

Children may enjoy snuggling with a pet at bed time.
Children may enjoy snuggling with a pet at bed time.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I don't like to have my dog sleep with me, but I do like to have her in my room at night. I bought a pet bed for dogs when she was a puppy, and she knows that is where her bed is at night.

Because she has slept there ever since she was little, she doesn't try to get up in bed with me. The only exception is when there is a storm outside. The older she gets, the more afraid she is of storms and then she will whine and try to crawl in bed with me.


My cat is one of those cats that likes to hide most of the time, especially if other people are at the house. But when it is time to go to bed, she loves to jump up in bed and sleep with me.

Most of the time she is at the foot of the bed and doesn't cause too many problems. Cats have a very keen sense of time, and on weekends when I like to sleep in a little bit later, she thinks it is time to get up at the same time I get up during the week.

At this point, she comes and lays right across my neck until I finally decide to get up. I enjoy hearing the contented sound of my cat purring and find that it is relaxing for both of us.


I think that whether or not a pet should be able to sleep on your bed all depends on what you want. Most pets, if given the chance, would love to sleep with their owners.

Even though I am a huge animal lover, I have never liked having them sleep in my bed. I have always had big dogs and can't imagine how much room they would take up and all the hair that would be everywhere.

I know many people who don't mind this at all though. I work with a guy who has two black labs, and they both sleep with him and his wife all the time. Once they get used to sleeping in your bed, you would probably have a hard time training them to sleep in their own dog pet bed.

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