Sharing your sheets with your dog or cat may be a good thing, a study suggests. But some experts say you may still want to consider alternate arrangements.
Dayle Fragin has a soft spot for dogs.
Not just in her heart, but also on her bed.
“It’s their home,” says Fragin. “They’re second-chance dogs. I feel they need to feel comfortable for the rest of their lifetime.”
Dayle, a full-time animal shelter volunteer, shares her bed with six dogs — schnauzers Muffin, Onyx, Minnie, Fred and Heidi, and a mixed breed named Carly.
“One moves, the other comes in, we constantly rotate. I never know who’s next to, of me, wherever. On the bed, on top of the bed. It’s wherever they want to go,” she said.
Dayle’s not alone. There are plenty of photos online of people snuggled up under the covers with their pets.
“I just adore them. They show you so much love, companionship, friendship, anything in the world anyone could ask for,” Dayle said.
Sleep experts have long thought that pets in the bedroom are disruptive to a person’s sleep, but a recent Mayo Clinic survey found 41 percent of patients who share their beds with their animals find it beneficial.
Some say it helps them relax and gives a sense of security.
But 20 percent of respondents admitted their pets interrupted their sleep.
“Currently, the pets are not allowed in the bedroom. We have dogs and cats. They aren’t allowed back where the bedrooms are,” said veterinarian Dr. Sarah Evans.
Dr. Evans says sleeping with your pet could have negative health effects.
“Allergies for one,” she said. “Then, you get into the fleas and the ticks and the bugs that are about dogs, and the bacteria. So, they’re dirty.”
Dr. Evans says if your pets do sleep on your bed, you should be sure to wash your sheets frequently. Dayle says she washes hers multiple times a week.
As a board certified surgeon, Dr. Evans also encourages pet owners to take precautions to make sure your animals don’t get hurt.
“The jumping on and off of the bed is really bad for the neck, the spine, the elbows, the shoulders,” Dr. Evans said. “A ramp for them to get on and off the bed, I think, is great. And having sometimes throughout the day or night where the bed is restricted. So it’s not free. So they know there are some boundaries.”
For Dayle, her dogs are her babies, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
When asked what she would do if she was told her dogs could no longer sleep on the bed, she said, “I have to sleep on the floor with them.”
Dr. Evans says it’s perfectly fine for pets to sleep on the floor, and she says pet beds are a great option if you think your furry friend will feel more comfortable.