Sleeping with the animals

Originally Published: July 11, 2002 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: December 28, 2007
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Dear Alice,

Is it mentally healthy to sleep with pets? I've been sleeping with my cat since childhood, but have recently added my dog to my bed. When I mention it to people, they kind of raise their eyebrows. The cat won't leave, but should I kick out the dog?

Pet-lover

Dear Pet-lover,

Bark, bark, hiss! It's your bed, so if you don't mind puss and pup parking their furry behinds in it at bedtime, there's not a doggone thing wrong with it. Slumbering with dogs and cats doesn't make one unhealthy; in fact, your four-legged company may help you to sleep easier. Pets are proven sources of relaxation for their human friends, and might make people feel safer, warmer, and pleased to provide them with a cozy place to turn in after an exhausting day of grooming and lounging.

Could the eyebrow raisers be teasing you, suggesting with their looks that you're bedding down with Boots and Sparky — you know, getting a little tail? Maybe they think three's a crowd, or conjure up images of you and your pets tucked in, spooning, and snoring. Let their imaginations run wild; we have all different kinds of relationships with animals, and as long as we respect them and are able to relate in healthy ways with people, too, no one need go to the doghouse.

One, two, or ten mammals on the mattress, beware that unknowingly rolling over on Rover or kicking Kitty clear across the room while you're sleeping could injure them, and you if their fight or flight responses cause them to scratch and bite back. If your pets venture outside, you may also be sleeping with ticks, fleas, and other critters not always visible under all that fur. And then there are allergies that can unleash all sorts of reactions when pets' hair and dander are so close — even after they've split for their morning walks.

Alice

December 3, 2007

21245

To the reader:

I personaly have a sleeping problem. I can not sleep by myself, so everynight my four month pitbull cuddles up next to me and keeps me warm. There is NOTHING better in this...

To the reader:

I personaly have a sleeping problem. I can not sleep by myself, so everynight my four month pitbull cuddles up next to me and keeps me warm. There is NOTHING better in this world to know that something loves you unconditionally like that.

I feel that no one but YOU has the right to say whom or what sleeps in your bed. The dog will always be there for you in the end, (you have to give them lots of love of course) not all PEOPLE are like that. So I wouldn't kick the dog out or the cats.

April 4, 2006

21055

Alice,

RE: Sleeping with animals

I don't think that it's strange at all. I sleep with my two dogs in bed and everyone enjoys the warmth and cuddlyness. If it wasn't natural or if the...

Alice,

RE: Sleeping with animals

I don't think that it's strange at all. I sleep with my two dogs in bed and everyone enjoys the warmth and cuddlyness. If it wasn't natural or if the animal didn't like it, they wouldn't be in your bed. Watch the Animal Planet, you'll find that wolves, bears, and many other mammals tend to sleep close together.

May 9, 2004

20701
Hi Alice! I'm a nineteen-years-old Norwegian girl who just wanted to say that keeping your animal in your bed at night is absolutely nothing to be ashamed over. I suffer from anorexia and depression...
Hi Alice! I'm a nineteen-years-old Norwegian girl who just wanted to say that keeping your animal in your bed at night is absolutely nothing to be ashamed over. I suffer from anorexia and depression, and can honestly say that my two-years-old dog may have saved my life. She always sleeps curled up on my feet, keeping me warm and feeling safe when I can't sleep or wake up from a terrible nightmare. To have an animal is comforting and can make your life seem worth living again when you're down. Of course, some people think that it's not hygienic, and that's ok. It's not hygienic to walk around in a big city breathing exhaust either, though a lot of people never think about that. It's important to do what's right for you and to respect that others not always feel like doing the same. Best wishes from Ragnhild. (Please forgive that my English is not the best.)

July 11, 2003

20493
Dear Alice, Let me just pipe in on this. Sleeping with your pets is in no way harmful or shameful! Our dog is a constant source of happiness and comfort to us, and having her in our bed at night is...
Dear Alice, Let me just pipe in on this. Sleeping with your pets is in no way harmful or shameful! Our dog is a constant source of happiness and comfort to us, and having her in our bed at night is the most natural thing in the world to us. In fact, the only harmful thing about it is that sometimes it's difficult to sleep elsewhere without her there. It's like having your child in the bed with you, safe and sound. Don't let anybody discourage you on this!