Health

Is sleeping with your pets good for them?

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Updated 7:02 PM ET, Tue November 9, 2021
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"In general, it is a very good thing for animals to sleep with their people," said Dr. Dana Varble, the chief veterinary officer for the North American Veterinary Community.

"Do you really think there's enough room for you?" -- Delilah, a 10-year-old Siberian husky.
Courtesy Brawner Raymond
"Who says everyone can't fit in the bed? As long as I get the biggest part so I can spread out, I'm cool." -- Beast (bottom right), a 106-pound European Doberman, with (clockwise from bottom left) his sisters Buttercup and Bear; brother Joey, laying on their human; and sister Bailey. Courtesy Stephanie Moody/Rue's Rescue & Sanctuary
"Hi I'm Tessie, a 4-year-old Australian cattle dog. I love sleeping with my girls so much that when they go to the store i snuggle with their bed toys until they get back." David Allan
"In the animal world, animals who are bonded tend to sleep together," Varble said.

Lynx (top) and Luna (bottom) are 2-year-old Siberian Forest cats.
Sandee LaMotte/CNN
"Come on, Dad, that's enough sports for tonight. It's time for bed." -- Ellie, a 6-year-old German shorthaired pointer, who likes to sleep under the covers next to her humans. Courtesy Trent Loyd
Dogs and cats who share their human's bed tend to have a "higher trust level and a tighter bond with the humans that are in their lives. It's a big display of trust on their part," Varble said.

Banshee, a 6-year-old Husky mix, is a rescue who survived heartworms.
Courtesy Stephanie Moody/Rue's Rescue & Sanctuary
"When a dog turns their back to you, it's an incredible sign of trust because that is a very vulnerable position for them -- they can't keep watch for danger," Varble said.

Mason, a 3-year-old lab mix, loves to sleep next to his dad every night but hates covers.
Courtesy Trent Loyd
"Dogs and cats who are more closely bonded with their humans get additional health benefits," Varble said, including increases in oxytocin and dopamine, the feel-good hormones.

"What? I don't snore!" -- Luna, a 2-year-old Siberian Forest cat.
Sandee LaMotte/CNN
"Make sure all the pets in your house are up to date on flea, tick and internal parasite prevention, especially if you're going to have them in your bed," Varble advised.

Molly (left), a 15-year-old cockapoo mix, likes to sleep in her human's armpit, while Evie (right) prefers the end of the bed and hates to be woken up early.
Courtesy Ryan Pollyea
"Animals have different personalities like we do," Varble said. "Some people sleep with the lights on and some people like to sleep in the complete dark. One pet might have more of a protective, another more of an assertive personality."

Evie, a 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix, has been known to crawl onto her human if she needs more affection.
Courtesy Ryan Pollyea
A dog who sleeps at the end of the bed with their face toward the door might have a more protective personality, Varble said.

"Thank goodness that bed hog Beast is gone so I can catch up on my zzz's." -- Buttercup, a 4-year-old beagle-bulldog mix.
Courtesy Stephanie Moody/Rue's Rescue & Sanctuary
"I may look like an angel, but in the night I have been known to walk or sit on my humans and try to smell their breath. I also enjoy draping my 2-foot-long body across their necks at about 3 a.m." -- Lynx, a 2-year-old Siberian Forest cat. Sandee LaMotte/CNN