ThinkstockIn many homes, the "pets on the bed" debate is long over -- and the pets won. Proof can be found in the marketplace, where accessories abound to help dogs and cats get onto the bed -- and keep the bedding cleaner.
The trend isn't for everyone, however. Letting cats and dogs sleep in the bed has been suggested as one of many reasons why people have problems getting a good night's sleep. If you have insomnia, you might consider getting your pet his own comfy bed and keeping yours for yourself. If you have allergies, or your pet has behavior problems, a no-pet bedroom is also recommended.
Otherwise, why not share?
I've always kept an eye out for sales on relatively inexpensive, washable cotton quilts to throw over the top of the bedding. I also use rubber-backed fuzzy bath mats on top of the quilts when older pets get leaky.
For high beds and older pets, there's even an easier way up: A number of manufacturers make pet-sized sets of steps to help aging or small animals get onto the bed or couch. Pet retailers have a wide selection to match your budget and decor.