The Jakarta Post
Human-animal co-sleeping means comfort, love and warmth – for both human and pet. (Shutterstock/Yuliya Evstratenko)
We love our furry friends and want to spend as much time as possible with them. Human-animal co-sleeping means comfort, love and warmth – for both human and pet.
An Australian study revealed that sleeping alongside dogs for warmth was practiced by indigenous Australians during cold nights, as reported by ABC.
“We share a real closeness and very strong bond with our pets, that´s why we´ve allowed them to come into our beds,” animal behaviorist Kate Mornement said.
She added that pets seek our bed for simple reasons: it is warm, cozy and they want affection as well as company. “It´s also high up so gives them a better view of the house,” she said.
There are a few things pet owners should consider before letting their dogs or cats sleep in the bed. Even though the risk is quite low if you do not suffer from a pet hair allergy, co-sleeping with animals could affect our health.
Veterinary health expert Jane Heller said that bacteria and parasites could be transferred to the human body. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the animal clean, as well as free of ticks and fleas.
The quality of your sleep may also be affected. Dogs are active 20 percent of the night, and there is always a chance of them snoring, scratching at doors, barking, or the different body temperatures of humans and animals could cause you to wake up.
Another thing to consider is that pets wanting to climb on the bed with you “has nothing to do with being the pack leader or dominant,” said Mornement. “They just want to be there because it’s comfy.”
In the end, it is a personal decision for pet owners to let animals sleep in the bed or not. In any case, it should be discussed with your partner since it also affects your intimacy.
Sharing the bed with your furry friends brings psychological, social and cultural benefits, with low health and behavioral risks that can be managed with care and training. But do consider that a dog´s risk of separation anxiety can increase with the habit of sleeping together.
“It´s good to have rules, but be consistent. Otherwise they get confused and don´t understand,” Mornement suggested. (sop/wng)