Is it OK to sleep with your cat or dog? There appears to be no evidence that the practice presents any dangers to human health.
According to vet Gabrielle Brunner, from Basel, the phenomenon is widespread in Switzerland. “I estimate that half of Swiss do it” she told 20 Minutes.
From a sanitary perspective it is important to follow a few rules. Pets should be regularly dewormed and checked for ticks and flees, said the vet. In addition, she recommends frequent sheet changes to get rid of shed fur and dirt.
It is also important to be strict with the animal from the beginning and to set clear boundaries said Lucia Oeschger from the Swiss Four paws society, an association that promotes humanity towards animals. If an animal is allowed into the bed one day and then banned the following day, it will be confused. In the same way, allowing one dog but not others, will be confusing. Animals have a strong sense for injustice and can react violently if they are jealous, she said.
Cats are particularly clever. If they are allowed in the bed once, they will remember it and will not understand if they can’t come in later.
Psychologist Elisabeth Frick Tanner, an expert on psychotherapy involving animals, has observed that the practice of allowing animals into the bed is popular among adolescents. At this stage of life, young people are looking for physical contact that brings security. The animal reduces stress. Once they find a stable human relationship, the relationship with the animal fades. Older people also like the companionship of four-legged friends.
However, Frick Tanner warns against going too far. It is important to maintain a certain distance with the animal.