Third Wheel: Sleeping With Your Pet

Climbing into bed at night with your partner is the perfect time to chat about the day, catch up on tomorrow’s plans, or even have a late-night giggle fest over inside jokes before dozing off to dreamland. These late-night moments are special, and can often lead to a natural romantic interlude… unless your pet is on the bed. Your furry friend is the third wheel when it comes to nocturnal romps, and one of you may have to be the bad guy who kicks the kitty or pup out of bed and out the door. Interruptions can kill anyone’s mood. Dealing with co-sleeping pets takes effort on both you and your partner’s part to ensure that your pup doesn’t put a strain on the relationship.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

The American Kennel Club reported that around 45% of dog owners welcome their pup into bed at night. The benefits of sharing the bed with a canine or feline companion are noted for reducing stress and creating a stronger emotional bond with your fur baby. A warm dog or cat snuggling up to you can help make cold nights cozy. But the benefits may not outweigh the risks when your pet interferes with quality time between you and your partner. A partner may feel neglected if the pet  takes precedence in the bedroom, as if the animal’s presence is more important. If the dog or cat has been in your life prior to your partner, it can sometimes be hard to balance the attention between a new romance and your four-legged best friend. Your pet cannot be neglected, but neither can crucial alone time with your paramour. Make it a priority to spend time with your dog or cat and with your partner. Find ways you, your partner, and your pet can spend time together during the day, so that you two can be alone together at night. Like any relationship stumbling block, communication is the key to negating potential and current conflicts.

The Bed Is Your Territory

Dogs have a natural tendency to be territorial. Making the bed part of their territory can be problematic, if not dangerous. Even the tamest dogs can become aggressive if they feel their territory is threatened. New partners brought to the bed can be seen as a threat to their vulnerable sleeping master. Behavioral trainers note that the dog should be trained to wait to come onto the bed until commanded, establishing the bed as the owner’s, not the dog’s. The dog should stay on the floor while you and your partner are in bed for at least 10 minutes before allowing them to join. This will make it easier to move the dog out of the room when it comes time for people-only snuggles. If the dog has not been invited to the bed for sleeping yet, they will be content to wait outside the door until you are ready for them to come in for the night. If your dog suffers from behavioral issues like stress or anxiety, consider calming supplements as a safe and effective way to calm your pet’s nerves.

Pets and Pest Control

Inviting your dog or cat into bed also has a potentially itchy side effect: fleas. These pests can carry from your pet to you, making your dreamy bed a nightmare. No one will feel in the mood for romance or even have a quiet conversation when being bitten or scratching irksome red bumps. House Method offers a list on how to kill fleas that pets have already brought into bedding, including washing everything from sheets to towels and in between. Washing all linens that may have been exposed to fleas will kill any remaining bugs or larvae. Keep your pet well groomed, and talk to your vet about flea and tick prevention medication like Frontline, K9 Advantix, or Advantage II. Nothing can affect your relationship like the misery of multiple bug bites. Take steps to prevent fleas in your bed and on your pet to avoid the problem altogether.

Caring Is Sharing (Your Pet)

Chances are your dog or cat has a few friends. There may be a “grandma” or neighbor who loves your pet and the chance to dote on them. Many cities have day-cares for active pets to make new pals and play with other animals. When your pet is a third wheel at night, there is a chance they aren’t getting enough exercise, attention or releasing enough energy. To keep your pet on their own bed for an evening that’s guilt-free, take your fur baby to daycare for a day. Or meet a fellow dog-mom or dog-dad at a local dog park, and let your babies get their energy out running leash-free. When your dog is wiped out from a day spent playing, set their favorite toy on their dog bed in a space close to their water bowl, and close the bedroom door. Even the clingiest dogs will be content to nap while you and your partner have alone time in the bedroom. For special date nights or long evenings away from the house, consider hiring a pet sitter to engage your pup or kitty while you are out, or arrange for a night stay at an animal daycare. This way, your pet isn’t sleeping the whole time you are out and waiting to play when you get home. When your furry friend has the attention they need and an outlet for their energy, they won’t demand attention when it’s time to settle down and sleep on their own. This will allow you and your partner the intimate time to make late-night moments happen.


Written by Lauren Hailey 06/11/2018

1 reply
  1. Gina
    Gina says:

    My Bowie is the cutest. He has an introvert-like personality (if he were human) but is very playful when he gets to know you more. I think he carefully chooses who he would trust and befriend. I wish my Bowie would meet your pet too, I bet he would be curious yet shy at first. Thank you for this cute article, I really enjoyed it.


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