Pets On the Bed: The Pros and Cons and What You Need to Know

Pet owners develop a strong bond with their pets, and as these relationships deepen, boundaries can vary. But before you start letting your pet go to bed with you, there are a number of things to consider. Pet experts note that an owner's bed isn't always the best place for a pet, and it could also have bad implications for the family and even the furniture itself. Ultimately the decision is up to the pet's owner, but you shouldn't let your emotions dictate your choice.

Dogs on bed

Photo by Flickr user Paul Fisher

1. Potty Training Takes Priority

According to dog expert Cesar Milan, a pet should not be invited to sleep in the owner's bed until that pet has been effectively potty trained. The pet should be taught to sleep in a crate or another enclosed area where there is a designated space for them to go the bathroom in the middle of the night. If you don't take these measures with your pet, your bed will inevitably become stained with urine spots—this not only damages your linens and furniture, but it's gross for both you and the pet.

2. Don't Trap Your Pet On the Bed

The size—particularly the height—of a bed is important when allowing your pet to sleep with you. A very tall bed can be too high for some breeds—as well as puppies and elderly pets—to jump off of without injuring themselves. You can review mattress sizes and mattresses on other retail websites to see what options are available in terms of mattress height.

Because pets can vary so much in size, there's no blanket solution for every case, but pets should be able to jump on and off the bed with ease, and without any human help. If your bed is too tall for a pet to climb up on by themselves, you can consider using an ottoman, crate or other stable device as a stepping stool at the foot of the bed. If you can't make a bed easy for your pet to maneuever, you shouldn't sleep with your pet in the bed.

3. Be Mindful of Kids and Your Pet's Temperament

Most beds are about as tall as young children. These beds put children's faces at the height of a lounging pet. Kids can sometimes startle your pet, and this might cause the pet to lash out with a paw swipe or a bite—even if your pet doesn't have an aggressive temperament. If you have kids or have a dog with an aggressive streak—or even if you aren't sure what type of attitude your pet has—keep the pet off the bed.

4. Always Invite Your Pets to Bed

Pets can get territorial and decide to invite themselves to bed. But owners should always retain control, according to Cesar Milan. Don't let your pet climb up onto your bed without your consent. Even if you want your pet to sleep with you, maintain control and demonstrate to the pet that the sleeping area is yours. When you go to bed at night, teach your pet to stay on the floor until invited to come up and join you. And, in the morning, don't wake up when your pet starts to agitate—teach them that you will wake up when you are good and ready.

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