A new survey shows 56 percent of dog owners in the U.S. let their dogs sleep next to them. But researchers say that could lead to some real problems.
“Sometimes we forget that they aren’t our children. They are pets and also they have their own life and there are diseases that can be transmitted,” says veterinarian Bruno Chomel of the University of California’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Chomel is one of the lead authors of the study just published by the Centers for Disease Control. Researchers tracked people who had close contact with their dogs and cats, either sleeping next to their pet or allowing their animal to lick and kiss them.
In rare instances, some caught illnesses like the plague, rabies, antibiotic-resistant infections; meningitis; and cat-scratch fever. Others picked up ringworm and intestinal parasites.
Medical experts say that one of the most important things a pet owner can do is to keep your dog or cat free of fleas. The insects bite and could spread disease.