Who needs a cuddly toy at night when you have a pet, am I right? Well, unless your pet happens to be a hedgehog. Slightly less huggable, perhaps.
It’s true though; letting our pets sleep in our bedrooms – or even on our beds – can be a source of great comfort. And it’s no surprise that over 50% of pet owners bring their pets into slumberland alongside them.
Because our pets make us feel safe, secure and loved. In return, we want to make them happy and as comfortable as possible. We also want to feel like good owners, by not leaving our little friends out in the cold. Puppy eyes, anyone?!
All of these factors can combine to give us a great night’s sleep. Which is really important for all kinds of reasons; namely that sleep results in a well-rested, healthier person, a kinder, more tolerant owner and an all-round better human being. Yay!
Still, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when sleeping with your pets. And not making innuendos is one of them. 😉
- Lay down the law
If you’re kind enough to let your pet in, they better show you some respect. Avoid territorial battles at the outset by making it clear who’s boss in bed. If your pet protests every time you move in bed, or even tries to nip you, say “no” firmly. If this behaviour continues, well it’s the floor – or back outside – for them.
- Let them do their business
Just like you’ll have a final bathroom visit before settling down for the night, so should they. Give them a chance to empty their bladders and you’ll both have a better night’s sleep because of it!
- Make sure they’re healthy
Although your furry friends may make great bedtime companions, this shouldn’t come at a risk to your health. Our pets may carry germs that can cause zoonotic diseases, even if they appear to look perfectly healthy. So bring them to the vet for regular check-ups, make sure their vaccinations are in order and rest assured that you’ll sleep both soundly and safely.
- Bring them under the covers
Fine if you like the comfort of your pet beside you. But do you really want it dragging whatever it has encountered in the world that day onto your sheets? No thanks.
- Let them affect your relationship
If you’re sharing a bed with a partner as well as a pet, well, things can get tricky. Your pet might be over-protective and try to nip your partner whenever they try to come near you. Or you simply feel weird about any…ahem…extracurricular activities with your pet in the room.
First thing’s first. Get them off the bed and onto the floor – your pet, that is! Because, much as you love them, they shouldn’t come in the way of your relationship (or, if they do, maybe there’s a reason for that…) Anyway. Get them out of bed, for starters. And if you’re ok with them being in the room while you’re otherwise engaged, at least distract them with a toy.
- Continue if it’s affecting your sleep
Ok, so you do get those lovely feelings of warmth and security. But on a more unconscious level, your pet could be disturbing your sleep. They may be tossers and turners, random howlers or cover hoggers. Or perhaps they won’t leave you alone until you let them out for a bathroom break. Too well-trained, in that case!
It’s a sad thought but one to bear in mind: Not only does your pet take up some valuable sleep space, it can disturb your sleep patterns, too. Because your furry friend might have very different sleep patterns to your own – for instance, cats seem to sleep a lot during the day but less at night – which can lead to lots of nocturnal issues.
Whether or not to let your pet in your bedroom is a personal choice. And you have to weigh up whether you want that companionship or if it’s costing you too much – that cost being a good sleep. Remember, rested owners are happy owners so if you’re losing out on sleep, you’re not helping anyone!
If you do decide to let your pet join you in Sleepytown, remember the dos and don’ts from above. That way, your pet will continue to be your pal for life!
Sweet dreams to you both.