Should You Cuddle with Your Pet? The Answer May Surprise You
Whether they’re logical, reasonable, or purely indulgent, the reasons people choose to sleep with their pets vary considerably. Approximately 60% of American households own a pet, and roughly half of them are allowed to sleep alongside their people. In fact, many owners insist on co-sleeping. Pets and people naturally enjoy – and benefit from – close contact. But are there reasons why you shouldn’t cuddle with your pet?
Furry and Warm
About 45% of dogs sleep with their owners, and a whopping 62% of cats enjoy the feet, laps, and sides of their people while in bed. Not surprisingly, Americans lead this trend, followed by pet owners in France and Germany. The benefits of cuddling together include:
- Calming feelings of warmth and happiness
- Increased sense of security
- Stress relief
Furthermore, cuddling with your pet can add greater depth to your ever-developing bond. For many owners who work long hours, cuddling is another opportunity to be together while at home.
Why You May Not Want to…
However, despite these numerous benefits, there are equally pressing reasons not to cuddle with your pet at night, such as:
- Behavioral concerns related to dominance and aggression or destructive tendencies
- Sleep disruptions
- Personal health challenges (like suppressed immunity)
It’s not uncommon for individuals to find their quality of sleep improves after enforcing bedtime boundaries, but getting shut out can lead pets to behave territorially. If this occurs, please contact us.
Cuddling with Your Pet and…Bugs!
Concerned about catching something from your pet? You aren’t alone. However, if your pet is considered healthy by a veterinary professional, the risk to you and your family is significantly reduced. On the other hand, pets who don’t receive regular wellness exams and/or are behind on their vaccinations can present a danger to their owner’s health.
Parasite prevention is absolutely critical when it comes to cuddling with your pet. Fleas and ticks have no place in your home or bed. Aside from itchy flea bites (which can cause intense skin reactions and respiratory allergies), it’s not impossible to contract tularemia, plague, and cat scratch fever from your pet.
Taking it one step further, face licking can result in the transfer of zoonotic diseases, like leptospirosis or salmonellosis.
Bringing it Back
So, while cuddling with your pet is definitely a worthwhile experience, it’s best enjoyed when they’re in tip-top shape, free from aggressive/territorial behaviors, and protected against fleas. Families with kids may want to establish boundaries until children are over the age of 6.
Should you still want to be in the same room with your pet but not in the same bed, there are excellent alternatives to consider. An elevated surface next to your bed, complete with your linens or clothing (they love your scent!), is a great option for a displaced pet.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact our team with any questions or concerns.