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How can sleeping with my pet be harmful to my health?

Allowing your cat or dog to sleep next to you may be harmful to more than just your sleep. Letting your pets sleep in your bed or excessively lick your face can lead to your getting diseases and parasites. These conclusions are based on a study done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which claims that over half of people with pets allow them to sleep in their beds.

We’ve always known that dogs and cats are carriers for fleas and ticks, but some of the diseases and parasites outlined in the study are downright gross: MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Meningitis--even the plague! These diseases are classified as Zoonoses, as they are diseases or infections transmitted from animals to humans--if you’re having trouble sleeping, the last thing you need are nightmares about Zoonoses!

Some of the health risks of sharing a bed with your pet are poorer sleep quality (due to being awakened throughout the night), worsening of allergies and asthma or being bitten or scratched and ending up with an infection. However, as long as your pet is kept clean and healthy, and you have a healthy immune system, these risks are relatively minor. You will have to decide whether the closer bond you may experience with your pet as a result of co-sleeping is worth the risk.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.