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Sleeping with the Enemy: Your Pets?


A myriad of stories recently in newspapers and on blogs maintaining that sleeping with your pets might kill you, including this piece on AOL News.

Most U.S. households have pets, and more than half of those cats and
dogs are allowed to sleep in their owner’s beds, Drs. Bruno Chomel, a
professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary
Medicine, and Ben Sun, chief veterinarian for California’s Department of
Health say this is not a good thing.

Their study published in the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emerging Infectious
Diseases outlines a laundry list of potential zoonotic diseases (disease
which may be transmitted from animals to people). And offers specific

Before I go any further, let me say this. My wife
sleeps with me, and has been doing so for over 20 years. And she’s
still here to talk about it. The truth is that it’s far more likely to
get a disease or illness from your human sleeping partner than from a
pet who happens to share your bed.

In fact, we know that pets are healthy
for us….So, I argue the benefits of allowing your pets in bed (should
you make that choice), far outweigh the risks, assuming you make some common sense choices.

Dr. Larry Kornegay

And I’m not alone. (click here to) Listen to Dr. Larry Kornegay, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association talk about this this issue, from an interview which aired on my national radio show, Steve Dale’s Pet World.
(click continue reading)

I agree with Dr. Kornegay…and I believe the authors worked hard to
find examples of
people who have suffered, some dying, as a result of their pet in bed
with them. For example, a 9-year old Arizona boy died of the plague
after sleeping with his flea infested cat. Well, if that cat is
appropriately protected against fleas, nearly impossible for the cat to
have fleas. The fleas transmitted the plague, not the cat. 

if you are a really light sleeper, or your pet is a restless sleeper,
maybe it’s not a good idea to sleep with your pet. Also, I favor only
allowing pets up on the bed with permission.

I mean what if you and your partner want to “dance” in bed. And don’t
want company during the intimacy. Also, as pets age incontinence may be
an issue, so this way your not suddenly excluding the 15 year old dog
from the dog since you’ve periodically done so all along. To suddenly
not allow the dog to be there after all those years will be traumatic
for all involved.

I believe sleeping with a pet is a great way to bond, or to enhance an
existing bond. Also, even in our heated homes, when it’s that cold
outside, having a warm furry body can feel good – even if you don’t
have three dogs, a one dog night is helpful.

To learn more about zoonotic disease, and how to protect your pets and
human family members from intestinal parasites, check out the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

The study suggests with pets off the bed people are safe from intestinal parasites just isn’t so.  There are lots of ways
more likely to get those intestinal buggers, and you can protect
yourself and your pets simply by using appropriate products for your pets.

I agree is your physician says keep the pet off because you’ve just
undergone chemotherapy…well, of course. But for most of us, the
benefits to our health, and our relationship with our pets outweighs
the risk (assuming we are taking appropriate precautions), which is
pretty much what the President of the AVMA says. 

Full disclosure: You’ll find our bed quite crowded. Aside from me, my
wife, there’s one dog (the other at nearly 16-years old is
disinterested) and often a cat (let’s face it – cats choose to share
the time with you, if THEY desire). Our lizard does not share our bed.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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