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Is it unhealthy to sleep with pets?




Two dogs in repose on a bed for people.
Two dogs in repose on a bed for people.
thetorpedodog/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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Most households in the U.S. have pets and in more than half of those, dogs and cats are allowed to sleep in their owner’s beds. But according to a new study from U.C. Davis and the Centers for Disease Control, sleeping with pets puts us at increased risk from diseases including parasites, bacterial infections and even plague. Owning a pet may have health benefits like stress reduction but it also brings a wide range of pathogens into the household environment and closeness through “bed-sharing, kissing and licking” can expose owners to sometimes life-threatening illnesses. So how close is too close? And how does one weigh the benefits of snuggling up with our furry friends against the risk of getting ringworm?

Guest:

Bruno Chomel, Professor of Population, Health and Reproduction at U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and co-author of the study documenting the health risks of sleeping with pets called “Zoonoses in the Bedroom.”