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Pets are increasingly becoming more and more like our children nowadays, and they are often treated like any other member of the family – meaning they are welcome in the bed at any time. Approximately 60 percent of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in the bed with them. People have been doing this for ages, but the science around it has improved. It can be great to tuck your cold toes into their warm fur on a cold night, but it is actually very bad for your sleep to allow your dog in bed with you.

Use pillow shams to keep your dog off your pillows and reduce allergens

Dogs spend a lot of their time outside exposed to the elements and all of the allergens that come with the natural world. They bring all of those allergens into your house with them in their fur. This can make your bed significantly less healthy for you to sleep and by bringing allergies onto your pillows and sheets. If you have allergy issues already, it can exacerbate your problems. You can avoid this by covering your pillows during the day or using pillow shams.

Use a plush mattress topper to avoid waking at night with your dog’s movement

Between your dog’s running dreams and their polyphasic sleep pattern, dogs are very likely to wake you up in the middle of the night by moving around. If your dog jumps up and down from the bed, this is even more likely to disturb your sleep repeatedly. If you intend to allow your dog into bed with you, it may be helpful to find a mattress topper that minimizes the spread of motion throughout the bed.

Check your dog regularly for bugs, diseases

The same way that they are exposed to allergens, they are also exposed to various diseases and bugs that can transfer to humans. Fleas, mites, and ticks are all common bugs that get into your dog’s fur and can easily transition to humans. Mange mites, if your dog gets them, can give humans scabies.

Dogs also spend a lot of time dealing with their own poop, as well as the hoop of other animals. It’s very common for dogs to play with or step into their own poop, which gets the diseases and parasites that live in the poop into your bed. Nobody wants poop in the bed. This is how parasites like roundworm and hookworm are often transferred to pet owners.

Nearly 60 percent of human pathogens are able to be transmitted from an animal, according to the Center for Disease Control, so you may want to give your dog’s feet a good scrub before you let them into the bed with you.

Make sure to watch for possessiveness and talk to a trainer

If your dog already has issues with resource guarding, the bed and their sleeping spot in it can become a resource that they will jealously guard. This is something that you could work on with your veterinarian and a dog trainer, according to the American Kennel Club.

It’s unlikely that most dogs will have an issue with this, but it is a problem on occasion.

By Katie Phillips