Warm, soft and snuggly, it’s little wonder so many of us share our beds with our pets, but should we be letting our sleeping dogs lie?

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It’s not uncommon for pet owners to share the bed with their four-legged friends. According to the 2012 Sealy Sleep Census, 8.9 per cent of Australians sleep with at least one pet – there’s something comforting about having our companions close at hand. Whether or not it’s in our best interests however, is a matter of contention, even though our For Better Humans research conducted in 2015 indicates that 56% of Australian pet owners let their pet sleep in their bed!

Health risks

While we do the best we can to keep our dogs healthy, there is always some risk of contracting a bacterial or parasitic infection from them – and that risk is greater when sleeping in close quarters with your dog.

The bacteria you can contract includes bugs such as salmonella, campylobacter and staphylococcus, while common parasites include roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm, and the less common fungal ringworm and protozoal toxoplasmosis. However, as long as your dog’s flea, tick and worming treatments are up to date, the risk of catching a zoonotic disease from your pet is incredibly low, even if you share a bed with them. To keep you and your pet safe from nasty parasites, use our Flea, Tick and Worm Treatment Finder tool for 100% protection.

People most at risk

People whose immune systems are compromised – for instance the very young and old, pregnant women, and people undergoing chemotherapy – have an increased risk around pets, and the consequences of them becoming sick could be much worse.

Additionally, whether or not you’re allergic to your dog in and of itself is a factor. After lolling outside in the sun or rolling in the grass, your dog is exposed to a number of common allergens. Many of these, such as pollen, stick to your dog’s fur and join you in bed at night-time. For this reason people with asthma are not advised to sleep with their pets.

Quality of sleep

  • Research based on the 2012 Sealy Sleep Census and conducted by researchers at Central Queensland University finds that people who sleep with their pets take longer to fall asleep and are more likely to wake up tired.
  • Dogs often act out their dreams during their sleep and may whimper or even kick you
  • Dogs have a tendency to snore

Whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed is ultimately up to you. If you do decide that you can bear to separate with your best friend while you’re in the land of nod, explore Petbarn’s wide range of comfortable dog bedding available to suit canines of all breeds and sizes. You can even bring your leashed pet in to your local Petbarn to pick out their new bed together!