Dogs are the most popular pet in the UK, but as a nation we are divided as to how they should be kept.
Should they be allowed in the kitchen? On the sofa? Upstairs? Well, new research has recently addressed one of the most hotly debated topics among dog owners – namely the practice of – and the results may come as a surprise.
‘Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,’ explains lead author Dr Lois Krahn, ‘[but] many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.’ So, in order to establish once and for all the pros and cons of kipping with a canine, Dr Krahn and her team set out to determine just how close we should get to our furry friends.
Researchers on Dr Krahn’s team looked at 40 healthy dog-owning adults, none of whom had sleep disorders, over the course of five months. All of the involved in the study were older than six months of age.
Each human and canine counterpart had their sleep practices and quality recorded using activity-tracking devices (called accelerometers) for seven nights. It was found that people whose dogs slept in the same bedroom as them at night tended to benefit from better sleep but, interestingly, those who went so far as to have their dog in bed with them saw the opposite effect.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Krahn said: ‘The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom.’
She added: ‘Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximise their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively .’
All the more reason to get a pet!
The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.