It’s a very common trend for owners to allow their feline or pooch to sleep with them and many people wouldn’t even dream of kicking them off the bed.
According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.
The survey also found that 62% of cats sleep with their adult owners, and another 13% of cats sleep with children.
While it may be kind to let animals on the mattress, there may be some health issues associated with sleeping with your four-legged friend.
Even when those felines and pooches are seemingly healthy, sleeping with and “kissing” your animals on their little pet lips puts you at risk for some serious medical problems — according to “Zoonoses in the Bedroom,” a study published in the February issue of the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Rare health issues includes chagas disease, which can cause life-threatening heart and digestive system disorders, the plague (yes, bubonic plague); and cat-scratch disease, which can also come from being licked by infected cats.
“The risk of contracting something is rare, but if you’re that person who gets a disease from a pet, rare doesn’t matter that much,” says Bruno Chomel, who specializes in zoonoses, the study of disease transmission between animals and humans.
Having an animal sleep with you may result in them hogging the bed, kicking, snoring, tossing and turning. Which leads to a bad night of sleep for you.
A study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that about half the patients in the study had a dog or cat, and 53% of those pet owners said their pets disturbed their sleep in some way nightly.
While these health issues are rare, maintaining your pet’s health is essential to preventing illnesses from being passed along.
Taking your dog to the vet regularly and changing the bed sheets frequently can assist in preventative measures.
Additionally, washing hands after playing with pets and regular veterinary wellness visits are key, says Larry Kornegay, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.