Sleep News

Relationships On Paws: The Debate Over Pets In The Bed

An image of Lucy Dodds
20 Jun 20195 min read

As a nation of pet lovers, it’s no surprise many of us will happily sleep beside our four-legged friends. But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea to bring an animal into the bedroom.

Mattress Online surveyed the UK public to see how many of us love cuddling our furry companions and who would prefer a paws-off approach to their relationship.

  • Sex postponed for 50% who would let a pet interrupt a romantic evening
  • But we won't let pets disturb our sleep as 3/4 would kick a pet out of bed before their partner
  • 1/3 would choose a new partner over their beloved pet
  • But once coupled up, 80% say pets can make our relationships better
  • Though 3/5 would cancel on their other half to look after their pet
  • 1/3 say their partner’s morning breath smells worse than their pet’s

Sex cancelled for 50% who would let a pet interrupt a romantic night in

Romance is dead for half of us who would prioritise our pet’s happiness over our sex life. 50% said they would let their four-legged friend interrupt an intimate evening if they couldn’t be left alone at night.

1/3 reveal their partner’s morning breath smells worse than their pet’s

But even if you’re waiting until morning for some alone time, it seems 1/3 of us need to brush our teeth first! 32% of respondents admitted their partner’s morning breath is smellier than their pet’s.

Consider those special ‘gifts’ your cat or dog hunts down and kindly brings inside; your partner’s breath must be cat-astrophically bad if it’s worse than an animal’s.

3/4 wouldn’t let their pet interrupt a good night’s sleep

We might let pets stop us from having sex, but we won’t allow them to disturb our sleep. 3/4 said they’d rather kick an annoying pet out of bed before their partner. That’s something for the snorers and duvet-hoggers to be pleased about.

1/3 would choose a new partner over a pet

If you’re on the dating scene, things are looking ruff for your four-legged companion. When asked who they’d choose in a stand-off between pet and partner, shockingly, over a 1/3 of respondents revealed they’d pick their new date. So much for pets being for life!

Once in a committed relationship, 3/5 would cancel plans to take care of their pet

Fortunately, when settled down, we’re back to favouring our felines and pooches. 3/5 said they would abandon their partner to look after their pet. While this might mean another date night cancelled, at least our furry companions are getting the love they deserve.

80% think pets can have positive effects on relationships

Even with sex suspended and dates deferred, we still think pets are good for our partnerships. More than 80% of those surveyed agreed that our four-legged friends can make relationships better.

Having a pet can strengthen your relationship by:

  • Sharing a big commitment
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Improving communication
  • Building a new routine together

60% say sleeping beside pets improves their wellbeing

Pets don’t just have a positive effect on relationships – they benefit your mental health, too. 60% of respondents said sleeping alongside a pet can improve their mood and wellbeing. That’s unsurprising, as research shows pet owners are generally happier with their lives than those who don’t have a domesticated pal.

But if you do sleep beside your pet, there’s one other problem to consider: the germ factor.

1/3 don’t care about pet germs in the bed

Bacteria, parasites and even poo – we’ve all heard the horror stories of what pets are carrying in their paws. But a 1/3 confessed they aren’t bothered by pet bugs and would happily sleep beside their cat or canine.

And for those who are worried about pets in the bed, you’ll be glad to learn animal germs aren’t as harmful as you might think.

Experts say it’s safe to sleep with your pet

Pets and people alike all carry germs and, fortunately for us, most pet illnesses can’t spread to humans. What’s more, experts say that close contact with your furry friend shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you’re both healthy.

If your pet does sleep beside you, make sure to clean your bedding and mattress regularly. Bedding should be put on a hot wash over 60°C to kill germs, and you can clean your mattress with a vacuum and deodorising agent, such as baking soda.

But pets can still disturb our sleep

Pets can interrupt your sleep without you knowing. You might think you’ve had a solid eight hours, but if you’re still feeling tired the next day, your pet might have affected your sleep quality. This is because it’s harder to get into the deep, restorative stage of sleep with a pet beside you.

While most agree that snoozing alongside a pet can make us happier, be aware this can actually have the opposite effect.

Read on for 10 ways pets that can cause sleep loss and see if any apply to your furry friend.

10 ways pets can cause sleep loss

  1. Taking up too much space
  2. Making loud noises
  3. Moving around the room
  4. Jumping on the bed
  5. Waking earlier than you normally would
  6. Affecting your allergies
  7. Causing you to toss and turn
  8. Stopping you from cuddling with a partner
  9. Stealing the duvet away
  10. Making you subconsciously afraid to roll onto your pet

“We only recommend sleeping with a pet if the mental health benefits outweigh the real risks associated with sleep loss,” says Steve Adams, CEO of Mattress Online. So, if your four-legged pal is seriously interrupting your sleep, invest in a proper pet bed for your animal to snooze in.

Even when pets are messing with our sex lives or causing sleep loss problems, most of us would agree our furry friends are a big part of the family.

To read more about what goes on in the bedroom, plus all the latest sleep news, check out the rest of the Mattress Online blog.