Pets are an integral part of family life. Our new puppy is basically our fourth child and I am having such fun training her, playing with her, and I’ll admit, babying her. The first night she came home, she cried when we went to sleep even though her crate was right outside our bedroom door and the door was opened. She had gone through a lot that day, coming from the South up to Long Island, NY and finally to our home in Brooklyn— and she was only 8 weeks old! So we let her sleep in our bed and we didn’t hear a peep from her till morning. It was not the wisest choice it turns out since sleeping with your pet has been found to boost infection risks.
We commonly know that dogs may carry fleas, worms, ticks, and other parasites so as owners we guard against those situations but then falsely believe that our pets are as safe to sleep with as our kids. But according to a report by ABC News, pet owners who let their dogs sleep in their beds are at risk for a host of other diseases. The report states that over 60 percent of U.S. households have pets and out of that number at least half of dog owners and up to three quarters of cat owners sleep with their pets. Consequently, a report published in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases documents some conditions linked to sleeping with, kissing or being licked by pets. While some of the diseases are unlikely and admittedly rare, it might make parents reconsider letting their pets sleep in their kids’ beds or their own.
This is what happened to Nikki Moustaki. In her 30’s, she suffered six strep throat infections in one year. When her doctor suggested her beloved pooches might be the culprit, she was skeptical but then thought about how she walked her dogs along Hell’s Kitchen everyday. So she began wiping their paws with baby wipes upon coming in after walks and she has been germ free ever since.
MRSA, meningitis, and even the plague have been linked to family pets. It’s not that the dog or cat might have the disease themselves, but they may step on the bacteria particles outside and transmit it from their paws.
While I am convinced that pets can indeed bring unwanted germs into the house, we can also bring them in on our shoes, and who knows what our kids bring in from preschool? I don’t make it a habit to let our pup sleep in our bed but she does jump in from time to time. I don’t however let her sleep in my children’s beds.
Do you let your pets sleep in your bed?