Did you know that, according to a recent study, two out of three dog and cat owners let their pet sleep on their bed at night? They just love their cute, cuddly friends so much that they’re perfectly happy to share their room (and their bed) with them.
Pets can be clever and perform some nifty manoeuvres to secure that special place in their owner’s affections and their rooms. They’ll divide their owner’s legs, lie between partners, gradually inch further and further up from the bottom of the bed or nestle on our pillow, generally training the owner(s) to get used to this.
When you have a significant other, though, it can lead to conflict if one partner isn’t as fond of animals as the other or has different views on where the pet’s place is in the home. This can spell trouble if you’re the one who’s unhappy about the situation. In a separate piece of research, 86% of the people who took part in the research would split up with a partner who had a problem with their dog. Ouch!
So what do you do when you’re in a relationship with a pet-loving partner… one who just doesn’t want the cat or dog in the bedroom? Does it have to culminate in an ‘I go or they go’ ultimatum? Not necessarily. Here’s how to approach the situation:
The first thing you’ve got to do is state your values when it comes to pets, especially if you’re just starting out in the relationship. If it’s important for you to have your pet in the bedroom, you need to state that. If you’re dead against it, you need to state that, too. It’s not a slanging match, so avoid the temptation to scream and shout at each other. A frank but calm discussion is the approach to take.
Work out the pros and cons
There are all sorts of pros and cons to having a pet share your room. Pet owners love having them in the room because the pets bring a sense of security and comfort. To have them nearby is soothing and helps them to develop an emotional bond, which makes both the owner and their pet happier.
All of that being said, however, if you have an allergy or illness, you’d be better off keeping your pet outside of the room. A pet’s presence in the room can set off allergies and also spread illness, which is bad news if you’re not in the best of health. Not only that, and adorable as our pets are, they can become aggressive or dominant as, in their eyes, they’re gaining territory. There’s also the fact that they can be noisy little devils and disturb us when we’re sleeping!
Set out some rules
When it comes to pets, there are certain boundaries and it’s up to the owners to define those boundaries clearly. By allowing a pet into the bedroom, you’re letting it cross some boundaries, which can backfire because, as mentioned above, the pet can become more dominant as it feels it’s gaining territory. This is especially the case with cats, which tend to be territorial animals and can respond badly if they go from sharing the room with you both to going outside
If you’re going to sleep with your pet in the room, let it sleep at the bottom of the bed or, better still, in a bed of its own. When your pet climbs further up the bed, or onto it, you should send it back to its place. Be consistent and your pet will start to understand that it can only join you both when you invite it to.
Accept each other’s differences
It’s a simple fact of life that we’re not all going to have the same tastes. Let’s face it: life could get quite boring if we did! Some people just aren’t animal people, which is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is how the person behaves towards your pet. If the partner is abusive or unpleasant in any way towards, there can be no compromise: the partner should be the one to go if you feel that strongly about your pet.
Visit an animal expert
The issue might not necessarily be the fact that the pet is in the room itself, but more something the pet does while it’s in the room. Perhaps they scratch a lot, soil the room or make a lot of noise, which can disrupt sleep and even disturb intimacy between the partners.
If any of this applies to you, consider visiting a trainer. Explain to them what the issue is and see if they can help. Training your pet to do or not do certain things when it’s in your room can help your partner to accept them in it more. You could also take them to a vet, who can identify health issues that could be contributing to your pet’s behavior.
Exercise your pet
In some breeds of dogs, snoring is natural. This is especially the case with bulldogs and pugs because they have a shorter snout. If a pet’s snoring is causing all the trouble, it’s possible that your pet is overweight. The excess fat could be collapsing their throat, so make sure that they’re getting plenty of exercise. In any case, you should be giving your pet the exercise they need to stay healthy. One of the simplest ways in which you can exercise with your dog is to take them jogging. Do this during the daytime so that they’re a little less likely to disturb you during the night
Be sure the pet is the one causing the issue
You might not be sleeping well, but it might not even be the pet that is causing the problems. Perhaps if the pet wasn’t in the room you’d still encounter problems, especially if you’re not sleeping well. You may just need a more comfortable mattress or a larger bed that gives you both plenty of space. Bedstar have a fabulous selection of beds and bedding, which you can browse online before you make any potentially rash decisions regarding your pet.
As you can see from above, if you’re a couple at loggerheads over the presence of a four-legged friend in the bedroom, it’s not time for an ultimatum just yet, if at all. There are other options and with a little understanding of each other and of your pets, you can reach a compromise that allows you all to continue enjoying each other’s companionship.3