Does Your Dog Share Your Bed?

 |  Aug 30th 2008  |   1 Contribution


Jeanne, of Boise, Idaho, has been wonderful about bringing animal-related articles to my attention. Thanks to her, I read a recent column in USA Weekend.

The article discusses the popularity of canine companions sleeping with their people. Here is a quote from the piece.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association says 42% of dog owners sleep with their canines. And the percentage is higher anecdotally.

The article goes on to discuss some of the controversy surrounding the subject. Some dog experts advise against allowing dogs into your bed because dominance-related issues may occur.

"Some dogs don't want to take over the bed. Some dogs do, and those are the dogs you probably don't want in the bed because you might lose a foot if you moved in the middle of the night," says Amy Marder, a Boston veterinarian and certified animal behaviorist.

Even if your dog is respectfully submissive, the article also points out that a dog in the bed can disrupt, shall we say, the more intimate moments in some peoples' lives.

The question many people wonder, however, is whether having a dog in the bed is unhealthy for the person sleeping with the dog. The article cites one expert on the matter.

In Great Britain, the land of 6.5 million dogs, the government's former chief veterinary officer, Fred Landeg, spoke of more dire consequences. Landeg claims sleeping with dogs can expose humans to "new and emerging diseases." Landeg proclaimed: "As a veterinary surgeon [that's what vets call themselves in England], I would never advise people to keep dogs in their bedroom."

Dr. Landeg, I must respectfully disagree with you (and I should point out that the article's author also took issue with Dr. Landeg's statement). Most new and emerging human pathogens do not originate in dogs. It is true that pets and people can share diseases. However, healthy, parasite-free, clean dogs represent little threat to healthy people. And vice-versa.

I will confess that my pal Buster occasionally sleeps in the bed. And the only thing about it that causes me to lose any sleep is this: he's a bed hog.

Photo credit: Alex Archambault. Photo licensing information: CC.

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