Is It Safe to Sleep with Your Pet?

Go ahead and sleep with your dog—it’s perfectly safe, as long as you are both healthy.

In fact, sharing your bedroom with your canine companion—as long as he isn’t under the covers—may actually improve your sleep, according to recent research published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Although researchers didn’t study the impact of felines sleeping with their pet parents, anecdotally, veterinarians suggest the results are mostly positive (though the nocturnal cat may be a bit more disruptive).

“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home,” stated Lois Krahn, M.D., study coauthor and a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus in a press release. “Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

Behavior Issues Related to Pets Sleeping on Beds

Despite what you’ve heard, allowing a dog or cat on the bed doesn’t cause behavioral problems. The bigger issue, Hartstein says, is the pet owner’s lifestyle. Do they mind pet hair on furniture? Are they comfortable sleeping with a pet by their feet? Will a cat’s decision to leave in the middle of night disrupt the person’s sleep? If owners don’t mind these inconveniences, the pet will enjoy the bed as much as the owner.

Can Children Share a Bed with Pets?


Like adult pet parents, young children often want to sleep with the family dog or cat. All cases differ, of course, but it’s generally unwise to have a child of 6 or younger sleep alone with a pet.


“Before a child should sleep alone with a pet, it’s my opinion they should show that they can handle the responsibility,” says Dr. Carol Osborne, a veterinarian who practices at Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Ohio. “A parent should monitor a child to make sure they use good judgment when they feed, water, or walk it. That’s very important.”