Sleeping with your pet could kill you because doing so provides an environment that could breed a living nightmare. Since most households have a pet like a cat or a dog and the majority of these pet owners let their pet sleep with them, doing so increases their chances of contracting everything from parasites to the plague.
Anyone with a dog knows how, if given the opportunity at the beach or at a park, their dog will find something foul-smelling and often dead to roll around on.
Cats are also well known to kill birds and small rodents for food and fun and then bring their trophy home for you to find on the kitchen floor. This could also be the reason why diseases from cats are more prevalent and in many cases, more deadly.
The people who are at the greatest risk are young children, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system. They should be discouraged from letting their pets sleep on their pillow or kissing their pet. They should also not let their pet lick them as this has been shown to transmit some life-threatening infections, even from pets that seem healthy.
Some diseases you could catch from your pet includes:
- Cat scratch disease/fever
- Chagas disease
- Staphylococcus infections
- Capnocytophaga Meningitis
- Bubonic plague
- MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
A new born who had their pacifier used as a toy by their pet cat contracted meningitis.
After the dog of a 48 year-old Australian woman licked a burn on the top of her foot she contracted septicaemia and developed multi-organ failure.
A 9-year-old boy from Arizona developed plague after sleeping with his flea infested cat.
There was a family from the Pacific Northeast that caught plague from their dogs’ fleas.
A British woman who repeatedly kissed the family dog contracted meningitis.
One woman from Japan contacted meningitis after kissing her pet’s face.
Both a man and his wife from California contracted MRSA from their dog that slept with them and often licked their faces.
Your Pet and Your Sleep
The act of sleeping with your pet can also disrupt your sleep. My cat sometime snores and that either wakes me up of prevents me from getting to sleep because of the noise. I have to give her a nudge and like the Stooges say “Wake up and go to sleep.”
Pets, especially larger dogs can kick you while they are sleeping and animals moving around to a new position or climbing over you can wake you up.
My cat snuggles up to me but because she is like a little furnace I often move away, only to have her moved over next to me again. I end up with a sliver of the bed and the cat has the rest. Or someone’s dog just plain hogs most of the bed.
Sometimes a dog or cat scratching can shake the bed enough to either wake you up completely up or just enough to disrupt your sleep.
Occasionally someone rolls over in their sleep only to crunch a pet that reacts by biting them.
Precautions You Can Take
People should never sleep with their animal if they suffer from asthma or any pet allergies. They should also wash their hands after petting their animal, cleaning up pet waste and always before eating and preparing food.
My cat sometimes hops up on the kitchen counter to look out the window. I’ll shoo her away when I catch her but she is most likely up there when I am not home or asleep at night. I don’t know how many times I’ve made a sandwich on that counter unaware of the with extra cat butt flavouring I was adding.
Try keeping a container of bleach wipes on the counter and wipe it down often, especially before preparing any food.
You should also prevent you pet from ever licking you in the area of an open wound, cut or scrape. If they do you should wash and sterilize the area. The idea that that a dog’s saliva is cleaner than a human’s is a myth. Has your dog ever eaten excrement, garbage, spoiled food or a dead animal? Yiks!
Try tilting your pillows of your bed to a 45 degree angle to prevent your pet from sleeping on them.
Be Safe By Keeping Your Pet Healthy
- Take your pet to the vet on a regular basis
- Keep up any shots and vaccinations
- Take care of your pet’s teeth
- Have them treated for any internal parasites
- Frequently bathe and groom your pet
- Follow heartworm prevention including flea and tick prevention appropriate for the time of year and your geographical location
- Don’t let your pet lick your face
- Pick up after your pet immediately and keep the cat’s litter box clean
Take cat scratch disease, for example. The bacterial infection, caused by Bartonella henselae, comes from infected fleas and flea feces and is transmitted to humans, often simply by a cat strolling across a food preparation area that isn’t disinfected before food is placed on it.
The disease also could have come from pets that rolled or played in their feces, where salmonella can stay alive for up to 12 weeks.
Benefits of Sleeping With Your Pet
Having a pet has been shown to lower blood pressure, stress and anxiety, reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decrease loneliness, boost the immune system, increase longevity and they give unconditional love. And many medical studies have shown that contact with pets can often help both the physically and mentally ill.
Pets also can increase an owner’s opportunities for exercise and socialising.
Even though sleeping with your pet could kill you, the risk is very small. If you practice good flea and tick control and regularly take your pet to the vet and keep them healthy, there will be little risk of disease.
And since having pets comes with many health benefits, having a pet sleep with you outweighs the risks.
Does your pet sleep with you? Leave a comment below.