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?
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.”