What Are the Disadvantages of Having a Dog Sleep in the Same Bed?

by Liza Blau
    Think twice before inviting Fido between the sheets.

    Think twice before inviting Fido between the sheets.

    Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

    If you love to snuggle with your pooch during the night, you're not alone: Fifty-five percent of dog owners sleep with their pooch on top of their bed and another 50 percent allow him between the sheets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases. Although sleeping with Fido can bring comfort and warmth, there are certain disadvantages to be considered.

    Sleep Deprivation

    Sleeping with Fido might cause you to lose precious shut eye. Instead of sleeping soundly, some dogs growl, snore, playfully nip, frequently shift positions, bark at minor noises or even need to be taken out for a walk during the night. A survey of 300 patients who suffer from sleep disorders concluded that 41 percent of sleep disruptions were the result of allowing pets in their beds, and another 58 percent claimed their sleep is disrupted even if the pet is only in the bedroom, according to ABC News.

    Allergies

    Spending the night with your pooch in such close proximity can trigger allergies in susceptible individuals. Allergies aren't caused by your dog's fur, but proteins in his urine, saliva and flakes of skin, or dander. Dander is as small and light as dust particles, making it easily inhaled. It also clings to sheets, pillows and blankets. Allergy symptoms can include congestion, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes or asthma. If you're allergic to dogs, even a loving lick from Fido while you're sleeping can cause skin eruptions from the allergens in his saliva, such as rashes and hives.

    Risk of Disease

    An affectionate kiss from Fido during the night can lead to possible infections and disease. Meningitis, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and plague have been transmitted to humans through dog licks, kisses and saliva, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases. MRSA was contracted by a married couple after their pup repeatedly licked their faces while sleeping with him in their bed. Sleeping with a dog can transfer fleas that increase the risk for contracting human plague, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Parasites

    Dogs often carry parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and hookworms. Although they're usually transmitted by the dog's stool, it's possible for you to ingest them through a kiss or lick. Or, you might come into contact with fecal matter or worm eggs on Fido's coat while snuggling with him in bed. Although only tapeworm can survive in the human intestine, other worms can travel to your eyes, skin and other organs, according to Harvard Medical School. The resulting infections can lead to blindness, heart and lung problems, encephalitis or death.

    Considerations

    Create a separate area in your bedroom for your pup to sleep in. A simple doggy bed can be constructed out of a soft blanket that's placed near your bed. If you're unable to resist sleeping with him, make sure he remains on top of your bed. However, If you suffer from allergies, it's best not to allow him into your bedroom at all. Take your dog to a veterinarian for regular check-ups and to be dewormed, if necessary. Examine your pooch for fleas and ticks on a regular basis.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Liza Blau received a B.A. in English from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in fiction anthologies from Penguin Press, W.W. Norton, NYU Press and others. After healing her own life-threatening asthma by switching to a whole, natural foods diet, she founded the NYC Asthma Wellness Center. Blau counsels individuals on healing their own asthma and allergies with dietary and lifestyle changes.

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