Is Sleeping With Your Pet Dangerous?

Camron White, Staff Reporter

Should Pet owners really allow their pets to let them sleep in the same beds as them? The answer is no.
It’s been reported that up to 79 percent of pet owners allow pets to share beds with their human family members. Despite the popularity of the practice, physician and veterinary groups have taken turns speaking out against human-pet bed sharing for a variety of reasons.
In the case of some physician groups, the warnings are human health based. Confirmed transmission of MRSA skin infections and H1N1 influenza, for example, gives fodder to the speculation that humans who share the covers with their furred family members are more likely to become ill.
While this is certainly more of a possibility with immunosuppressed humans (HIV-positive, transplant recipients, or chemotherapy patients, for example), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer no explicit warnings on this issue beyond the standard warnings for these immunocompromised groups of people.
“Although uncommon with healthy pets,” the CDC wrote in a 2011 report, “the risk of transmission of zoonotic agents [those transmitted from animal to human] by close contact between pets and their owners through bed sharing, kissing or licking is real and has been documented for life-threatening infections such as plague.”
Some veterinarians also believe that allowing dogs to sleep on human beds is a not a good thing, behaviorally speaking. Puppies that are more prone to issues with aggression may fully develop these behaviors when allowed to sleep with humans. Housebreaking may also be affected if beds take the place of crates, for example. That’s why bed-sharing should always be delayed until training is complete and social maturity is achieved, behaviorists suggest.