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Pets in Your Bed

WebMD discusses the health implications of your pets sleeping in bed with you and how you can keep the bedroom healthy.

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But if a cat that sleeps with its owner must suddenly be banned, Johnson recommends giving the cat something else to do at night. Try giving kitty foraging toys to play with that feed her kibble, or put a cat condo by a window with a light outside.

"All the moths and bugs flying around the light right outside that window is like reality TV for cats," she says.

Getting a Dog Out of Your Bed

Internationally known dog trainer Victoria Stilwell says if your dog has no behavioral problems then it’s OK to let him sleep in your bed. In fact, from the dog’s standpoint, it’s a compliment.

"Dogs only sleep with people or dogs they trust," says Stilwell, star of the TV show "It’s Me or the Dog."

But, she says, aggressive or dominant dogs should not be allowed on beds. And if pets become a problem, they have to get off the bed.

That was the case with a couple that Stillwell worked with who slept with three giant, male mastiffs. One of the dogs started lunging at their toddler when she approached the bed, so Stilwell bought three extra large dog beds and taught the dogs to get off the bed on command.

"Make it a game to get off the bed, using lots of praise and petting," Stilwell says. "They get no attention on the bed. Only on the floor."

After a while, when the dogs were ordered off the bed, they got down, although Stilwell says it was at least two weeks before the dogs didn’t attempt to get back on the bed.

"You’re going to have a few sleepless nights," she says, "but you’ve got to stick with it." 

Cooper and Otis 

That was the case with the Armours, whose dog, Cooper, had slept with them since he was eight weeks old. When Cooper was two, they adopted Otis, another Weimaraner. Ingrid Armour said two 90-pound dogs just weren’t going to work in their bed. So they placed two dog beds on the floor at the foot of their bed and put the dogs in them.

 For Otis, it was fine, Ingrid Armour said. Not so with Cooper.

"The first night, he just sat in his bed and gave us the evil eye," Armour says.

For the first three nights, Cooper tried to get into their bed every 10 minutes. After that, for at least a month, he’d wait until they fell asleep, then climb into bed with them.

"We finally got a water bottle and squirted him when he tried to get into bed with us," Ingrid says. "It was a three-month process to get them to sleep in their own beds, but we’re worthless unless we get eight hours sleep, so we had to get this under control. Now we all get a good night’s sleep."

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Reviewed on April 29, 2012

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