Dogs can carry bacteria and parasites, while cats smuggle in gory’presents’. What’s it best to lock them out of the bedroom?
Vomiting on the mattress. Snoring. The slipping of sheets. The passing of wind. Night-time face-licking. A higher-than-average chance of grabbing sarcoptic mange…
If I could sit my dog down and quietly explain the dangers connected with him sharing the bed , this is the record I would read to him. But I know he wouldn’t listen. Oz, our young lurcher, would only warmly reimagine that scene he saw. When, on my birthday, the family let him come upstairs and forth to the bed to wake me up. When he saw, for the very first time, Upstairs Land. And then widdled with joy.
This single momentous event started a great debate in our family. Is not it time we let Oz upstairs more often? He’s encroached on every other part of our own lives — why not this one, also?
But like most pet owners, I’m torn. “Doesn’t sleeping with dogs get them bad habits” I find myself thinking. “Could it spoil the dog? And what should I grab a few God-awful disease?” They’re questions which were requested for centuries.
Early on the debate against co-sleeping with pets has been about its impact on human sexual lives. In the 18th century, for instance, when the storing of lapdogs by women has become increasingly fashionable, popular satires depicted it as a hazard to bedroom arrangement.
“In such satires, the husband feels that the dog around the bed is denying him what ought to be his right — his wife’s company and care, and therefore the sexual satisfaction she needs to really be providing,” states Dr Stephanie Howard-Smith, cultural historian of human-dog relations.
According to the puppy historian and vet Alison Skipper, the disagreements altered in the centuries that followed. By the late 19th century, maintaining dogs off the bed became the pet owner’s duty to the dog. The idea was that an outdoor kennel was much better to get a dog’s health than being choked by a coal fire in a stuffy bedroom.
As scientific question continued apace, fresh reasons to avoid sleeping with puppies emerged in the 20th century. We heard more about the danger of disease — super-bug breeds of staphylococcusor parasitic ailments of mites, ticks or gut-worms, as an example. We also discovered that co-sleeping dangers”spoiling” the dog, apparently unlocking a wolf-like desire to overthrow the proprietor in a bid for”alpha”status. Dogs needed”placing in their place” and that place has been absolutely not the individual den .
Do arguments like these still hold any weight?
The simple answer is: not much. The idea that man’s best friend is waiting for the time to acquire top-dog status proven to have been assembled on some pretty shaky scientific foundations. And the disease risk associated with co-sleeping is far less of an issue than was once believed.
“There’s no doubt that dogs may carry bacteria and parasites that may do us any harm, but normally I believe that the risk is extremely low,” says Prof James Logan, head of the section of disease control in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “You could argue that being subjected to a number of these organisms might actually do you some great — individuals who have grown up with pets and other animals tend to have fewer allergies, for instance”
Basically, provided you stay up-to-date with worming and flea treatments, you are all set. But new arguments against sharing your mattress with a puppy have appeared. There’s proof it may encourage possessive behaviour in certain puppies (growling or biting when others strategy, for example ), or make it harder for them to deal when the owners are far away from your home.
“Most vets would recommend not letting dogs sleep near children,” states Dr Jess French, author and vet. “And dogs that have used to sleeping with you can become worried once you’re away, so there is an argument that using their own safe distance is the better approach.” Co-sleeping might not match all dogs, all the time, in other words.
You’ll see at this point, a distinct lack of talk about cats. In trademark fashion, they seem to have strolled around the edge of this bed debate, found a hot place someplace else and settled down for a quiet nap. Yet there are clearly arguments against getting cats at the bed.
Some cats hunt at night and contribute to the mattress”gifts” in the form of prey or (according to one correspondent) slugs stuck in their fur. Plus, there are fleas and other parasites which, as with puppies, need keeping in check.
My own family’s experiences with cats are mixed. Two made our sleep excruciating due to their inability to understand the concept of object permanence: when a limb goes under the sheet it’s not become a potential rat or mouse value stalking. The other cat was more complicated — he appeared to unleash a lifetime of repressed emotional gratitude for our rescuing him to different 10-minute bursts of massaging and purring. Not at all.
According to numerous surveys, though, about 50 percent of pet owners decide they can live with these kinds of drawbacks. According to their testimonies, co-sleeping with cats and dogs helps soothe anxiety and anxiety, stops them becoming agitated by sounds, prevents loneliness (often in both parties) and keeps the bed warm and nice. They sleep better and feel connected with their animal partners.
In Downstairs Land, Oz is being a fantastic boy. He does not whine. He’s not attempting it on. He chews on the Kong puppy toy that I give him before shutting the kitchen doorway and shortly, as with each night, he will flop back on his bed, alone. He waits. After the time is correct, I suspect he’ll have his way. Provided that we acknowledge the risks, the pearly stair-gate to Upstairs Land may open once more. And, perhaps, we will be all the happier for it.