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.
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.
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.