Having a pet can be wonderful for your health. That wagging tail when you walk in the door not only makes you feel good — it probably encourages you to live a healthier lifestyle. No matter the weather, you know you have to take two walks per day. Maybe you don’t stay out at the bar with your friends too late because you know you need to get home to let Fido out.
Having a pet has been associated with lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, and decreased feelings of loneliness.
While these traits are heartwarming, we have to draw the line somewhere. No matter how much you love your four-legged friend, sharing your bed is a bad idea. Disclaimer: I’m not a sleep-with-my-dog kind of gal. Humans belong in beds, animals on the floor. You’re not going to convince me otherwise, especially after researching for this article!
However, I may be alone in that stance. In the United States, more than 60 percent of households have a dog, and of those dog owners, 50 percent allow their pets to sleep in bed with them. Of the 250 diseases that have been passed from animals to humans, 100 of those diseases came from domestic animals. That means your pets could be carrying some nasty diseases like parasites and staph infections.
Why do we sleep with our pets?
Once you make room in your bed for your furry friend, it can be hard to break the cycle for both of you. “Dogs add companionship if you are single or in a bad relationship,” Susan Nelson, DVM, a clinical associate professor at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, told Everyday Health. “They provide extra warmth on a cold night. They evoke a sense of security, especially for children who are scared of the dark. They give an added sense of safety from potential intruders. It may also create a greater bond between you and your dog. Let’s face it: it’s hard to beat a warm, furry bundle of unconditional love.”
However, if you decide to let your pet cuddle up while your husband is out of town, it’s common for that relationship to continue. And listen up, ladies, because we’re the culprits. Studies show that 25 percent of women report sleeping with a pet, while only 16 percent of men do.
When it comes to your health, think twice before you let your pet snuggle up beneath the sheets with you. It may be bringing along more than warmth and love — your cute and cuddly cat or dog probably harbors some germs, bacteria and bugs. If you do let your pet sleep with you at night, here’s what you may be inviting into your bed with you: