Should you share a bed with your pet?

8 February 2022 - 2 min read

Do you cuddle up to your corgi or fight for pillow space with a cat?

Well, you’re not alone. And according to research from the Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona sharing a bed with your pet could help you get a good night’s sleep.

In a study of 150 people, just under half of which had pets, 20% said having pets in the bedroom was disruptive but 41% said their pets were “unobtrusive or even beneficial to sleep”.

A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

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A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

Among its results are findings such as: “One married woman described her two small dogs as ‘bed warmers’” and “one 50-year-old woman did ‘not mind when my lovely cat’ slept on her chest.”

Although the 2015 study only looked at a small group of people it concluded that healthcare professionals working with patients with sleep issues should check if they have a pet to see if it could help them drift away at night more easily.

We assume the researchers were mainly thinking about people with cats and dogs because it might be trickier getting some shut eye with an iguana.

But even cat and dog owners have very different experiences. Some swear by snuggling up to their four-legged friend to help them relax, while others have been tormented by cats charging over the mattress all night.

In fact, the Centre for Sleep Medicine previously found that many people are being disturbed in their sleep because of their pets.

If you are thinking about bunking up with a furry buddy there some things you do need to think about. It might not be particularly healthy if you have any breathing problems. And if you have a large dog and allow them to sleep with you from a young age or you buy another dog you might find there isn’t enough room on the bed.

In a case cited on US site WebMD a pet owner with two Weimaraners struggled to train them to sleep on the floor. She said: “We finally got a water bottle and squirted him when he tried to get into bed with us. It was a three-month process to get them to sleep in their own beds, but we’re worthless unless we get eight hours sleep, so we had to get this under control. Now we all get a good night’s sleep.”

If you're struggling with your pet's behaviour issues like barking or howling at night, you could give crate training a try. You can also ask your vet about behaviour issues – it might even be covered by your pet insurance. All our policies cover behavioural treatment when you're referred to a specialist by your vet.

Behavioural treatment covered up to your vet fee limit.

Digby Bodenham
UK engagement team lead

Digby is an experienced journalist in various fields but has specialised in insurance for more than six years. Before joining ManyPets in 2013 he was part of the editorial teams of various magazines, including Retail Week and Drapers. He has a degree in journalism and a cat called Potato.