To Share or Not to Share: The Pros and Cons of Letting Your Pet Sleep in Your Bed

For many pet owners, the bond with their furry companions runs deep, blurring the lines between pet and family member. A common practice among pet owners is allowing their beloved animals to share the bed at night. However, as with many things in life, there are both risks and benefits associated with co-sleeping with your pets. In this blog, we’ll explore the arguments for and against this practice, examining potential health risks and benefits. Ultimately, the decision to allow your pet in bed comes down to personal preference, the pet’s behavior, and any relevant health considerations.

Health Risks of Co-Sleeping with Pets

Despite the undeniable joy of cuddling up with a furry friend, there are valid health concerns associated with sharing a bed with pets. Veterinarians and allergists caution against the practice for individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions.

  1. Worsened Allergy Symptoms: Millions of people in the U.S. live with pet allergies, and co-sleeping can exacerbate their symptoms. Allergies can lead to itchy eyes, sneezing, and hives. Even non-allergic individuals may experience issues as pets can introduce other allergens like dust mites, pollen, and mold that collect on their fur.
  2. Exposure to Parasites and Zoonotic Diseases: Sharing a bed with a pet could expose you to external parasites like fleas or ticks and internal parasites like worms. Additionally, pets can carry zoonotic diseases, which they might contract from other infected animals or contaminated environments. Immunocompromised individuals, in particular, may be at risk.
  3. Nighttime Disruptions: Pets, with their nocturnal activities, may disrupt their owner’s sleep by moving, licking, scratching, or taking up too much space in bed. Research has shown that pet ownership is associated with worse sleep quality, and a third of pet owners report frequent sleep disruptions due to their pets.

Benefits of Co-Sleeping with Pets

While there are health risks associated with sharing a bed with pets, there are also notable benefits that contribute to the emotional well-being of both pet and owner.

  1. Increased Mental Health: Many pet parents find comfort in allowing their pets to sleep near them. This closeness may reduce anxiety, increase a sense of protection, and provide overall comfort.
  2. Positive Impact on Sleep Quality: Contrary to the belief that pets negatively affect sleep, some studies suggest that having a pet in bed can have a positive or neutral effect on sleep quality. For dogs, in particular, research indicates that their sleeping positions may not adversely impact their owners’ sleep.

Mitigating the Risks

If you’re torn between the joy of having your pet in bed and the potential health risks, there are steps you can take to mitigate these concerns.

  1. Allergy Management: For those with allergies, frequent washing of sheets, using HEPA air purifiers, and regular pet bathing can reduce the accumulation of dander and other allergens. Over-the-counter antihistamines or allergy shots may also be considered.
  2. Disease and Parasite Control: Keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations and regular vet visits to protect them and you from potential infections. Outdoor pets may pose a higher risk, so extra precautions may be necessary.
  3. Sleep Quality Improvement: If nighttime disruptions are a concern, consider providing a separate sleeping space for your pet. This can help ensure both you and your furry friend get a good night’s sleep.


In the debate over whether to let your pet share your bed, the decision ultimately rests on personal preferences, the behavior of your pet, and any health considerations involved. While there are valid concerns about allergies, parasites, and sleep disruptions, the emotional benefits of sharing a bed with your pet cannot be dismissed. By being aware of potential risks and taking proactive measures to mitigate them, you can create a sleeping arrangement that is both enjoyable and safe for both you and your beloved companion. If in doubt, consulting with your veterinarian can provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.