By Best Friends Animal Society
Do you have insomnia? There may be an interesting solution to consider for getting more zzz’s.
All the dogs and cats at Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelters by 2025, want you to know all about the benefits of letting them sleep in bed with you.
“It has been documented with anecdotal evidence that co-sleeping with your pet might help you with depression due to the flow oxytocin (e.g., commonly called the ‘love drug’ or ‘love hormone’). This could help with insomnia, decrease loneliness and arguably could help with one’s quality of sleep,” said Dr. Carley Faughn, board certified applied animal behaviorist at Best Friends Animal Society.
If you are thinking of inviting your pooch or feline friend to sleep in your bed, Faughn suggests:
- Observing whether your pet likes the bed in general and how they feel about sharing it with you.
- Trying treats to build a positive association by tossing them on the bed for your pet to find. Or, if your pet has a favorite toy, then you can use that as well.
- For smaller dogs, use stairs to assist them with getting onto the bed. You always want to make sure your pet can jump on/off the bed safely.
- Understand that your pet is an individual and while some pets take to it right away, others may not want to be on the bed at all.
“Always look for stress signs to ensure pets are enjoying the space,” said Faughn.
For dogs, these signs of stress might be heavy panting, restlessness and simply leaving the bed altogether. For cats, stress signs might be lowered ears, enlarged pupils and leaving the bed immediately. Do not force your pets to do things they don’t appear to enjoy.
“Ultimately, if you pay attention to your pet’s reaction to the bed, you will know whether they want to sleep in bed or have their own space nearby,” Faughn said.
However, if your pet is known to guard resources, Faughn does not recommend co-sleeping. She warns that you risk the potential that your pet might enjoy the bed so much that they don’t want to share and could guard it from you.
Along these lines, your pet might guard the bed and you from someone else in your home. Again, always pay attention to your pet’s body language to make the best decision for both them and you.
Faughn concluded by saying, “All pets and humans are all individuals. I personally find it beneficial for me to co-sleep with my pets because I enjoy snuggling with them in bed. It helps with my anxiety as well as my quality of sleep.”
Don’t have a snuggle pet? No problem. Check out bestfriends.org for how to adopt or foster a pet in need.
About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,100 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.