How To

Want to stay healthy? Stop sleeping with your pets

This year’s flu season seems to be a bit out of control, so everyone is looking for ways to stay as healthy as possible given the circumstances.

Some people are just working from home for weeks on end while the funk runs through their office co-workers.  Others are keeping their kids home from school or daycare for the same reason – which is a shock to everyone that there are people who will actually keep their kids out of school for illness reasons!

There’s the over-reliance on anti-bacterial products, using a tissue-wrapped pen to punch your ATM code into the machine, doing everything one can think of to avoid touching any potentially unclean surface that may be contaminated with another person’s germs.

Orvis Tempurpedic Faux-fur Deep Dish Dog Bed
Orvis Tempurpedic Faux-fur Deep Dish Dog Bed

But there is one thing that may not have crossed your mind.  Perhaps you should STOP INVITING YOUR PETS TO SLEEP WITH YOU IN YOUR BED or sit on your furniture.

Web Watch was appalled the other day when some woman brought her two Yorkies into the waiting room at a local office, because she didn’t want them to sit in the car with her.  Fine, we get it – you love your dogs.   But when she encouraged them to hop up and join her on the seemingly-new leather sofa, that was going a bit too far and showed a lot of disrespect to any of that business’ other customers who may not have appreciated sitting on a what is now a dog-infested seat.  Allergies?  Excess dog hair?  Yup – it’s all there.

That’s the premise behind Michael Day’s article in the December 2012 issue of EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES from the CDC entitled SURVEILLANCE OF ZOONOTIC INFECTIOUS DISEASE TRANSMITTED BY SMALL COMPANION ANIMALS.

First, let’s help you out: “Zoonotic” just means “Animal-based”.  And “Small Companion Animals” means just that: dogs and cats (and other domesticated animals you may have living in your house with you).

What the article points out is that dogs and cats are rife with various infections and diseases that can be shared amongst their human owners.  Some of those diseases include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • H1N1 influenza A (yes, the flu)
  • Rabies
  • ZVL – Zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis
  • Lyme disease
  • Spotted fever
  • Typhus

Are the chances high that you will actually catch one of these diseases from your beloved pet?  Probably not.  But the chances do increase with prolonged, up-close exposure to the animal — which means that sleeping with your pet should definitely be considered as something you stop doing immediately.

Of course, if you’re worried about your dog’s comfort in sleeping on the floor instead of sharing your king-sized mattress with you, you could always just get your pet this $10,000 doggy bed:

Most Expensive Dog Bed
The Most Expensive Dog Bed: $10,000