The following editorial first appeared in the Los Angeles Times:
A new study finds that people who sleep with their pets may be at risk for parasites and diseases — even plague. “A surprising 56 percent of dog owners sleep with their dog next to them,” says the report, written by a UC Davis veterinary professor and California’s state public health veterinarian and published in a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s unclear if that canine count includes the dogs that sneak into their owners’ beds after they’ve passed out for the night. The sleepover percentage is higher for cat owners — 62 percent.
The study includes some observations about people and animals kissing and licking each other, and the authors take a dim view of that for young children and the immune compromised.
People have become seriously ill from parasites picked up by their pets. The study concludes that it is uncommon with healthy pets and suggests regular visits to the vet to reduce risks. Routine exams, flea and tick control, and deworming all help, say veterinarians.
Not all people want their pets slumbering under — or on top of — the covers with them. (Not all animals are so keen about it either.) But for others, there’s no better way to get through the dark night, to soothe their anxieties and heartaches, than by cuddling with their canines and felines.
This is really a matter for you and your pet to decide in the privacy of your bedroom.