Sleeping with your pet can make you sick

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Letting your dog or even your cat sleep next to you in bed might seem like a good idea, but it could make you sick. They're known as man's best friend, but for some people dogs are more like a family member. New research, though, shows that your four legged friend might be carrying more than just fleas.

"Parasites - many pets already have [them] anyhow and as a rule of thumb, generally, they are species specific," said veterinarian Doctor Jeffrey Taylor. "But there are a few instances where they can transmit to other species like humans."

Doctor Taylor at the Fan Vet Clinic warns pet owners about getting too comfy with their pet. A Center for Disease Control study shows that dogs can carry ringworm, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tapeworm and even the Bubonic plague. Despite that, some people can't imagine kicking their dog out of bed.

"You feel comfortable with the animal in the bed," said dog owner Keith Ashley. "They make you feel good, the dog likes it, the dog stays out of trouble. It's just a dog's way of life I guess."

Ashley always goes to bed with his 5 year old dog Brit.

"This is her favorite spot in the morning!" said Ashley.

But he makes sure she's clean before they snuggle.

"We always try to bathe her regularly, spray her with the clean sprays, keep her up to date on the shots, medicines and all that so she's a pretty healthy dog," said Ashley.

Although rare, some of the diseases and infections dogs carry to bed can be deadly. It's good to practice safe hygiene with your pet so you both can get a good night's sleep. And of course to prevent any types of diseases from spreading, vets suggest that you wash any area that your animal licks and of course be up to date on your veterinary visits.

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