For decades, humans have shared intimate spaces with companion animals, to the point where they are considered part of the family. Several experts say that thanks to the strengthening of bonds between pets and humans today, many pet owners have decided not to have children, so dogs and cats have begun to replace this emotional and caring role.
Considering pets as members of the family has led to the adoption of practices such as sleeping with them. But how healthy can this habit be?
Juanita Torres, veterinarian and zootechnician, specialist in veterinary clinical laboratory, commented to La Red Zoocial that this is a personal decision, but that it can mean a risk of contracting infections for the owners. “Cats can have several types of vectors on their skin or mucous membranes that can transmit diseases to people. They also have lice or fleas, or fungi, which can be transmitted to humans, or a type of fungus, such as microsporum, which affects the skin,” explains the expert.
The veterinarian assures that this type of pathologies can be avoided through a good management of the environment where the animal is: “by using external and internal dewormers and giving a correct clinical management to our pet, through a veterinarian, there may not be any type of risk when sleeping with it”.
A publication by veterinarians Lucia Zanen and Paul A. M. Overgaauw, accompanied by microbiology researcher Johannes G. Kusters, showed that pets pose a potential risk of disease transmission to their owners, especially during direct contact when sleeping in the same bed.
As a pilot study, a group of 28 healthy dogs and 22 healthy cats were monitored, to track the presence of zoonotic parasites (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans) in them. “A total of 19/22 dogs (86 %) and 7/22 cats (32 %) tested positive for Enterobacteriaceae in the fur or paw pads. Fleas were found in 5/22 of the cats (23 %) and 2/28 of the dogs (7 %). . They also found high levels of aerobic colonies,” the study reads.
Therefore, the researchers recommend that pet owners inform themselves about better habits to interact with their pets in the most responsible way possible.
Juliette Marcela Henao, veterinary doctor and zootechnician, told La Red Zoocial that there are several diseases that can be transmitted by pets, and having contact with them can leave several parasites and fungi that affect people, in addition to the fact that there is a high risk of humanizing animals. “The identity of the animals can be interrupted in this matter of letting it enter the bed,” explains Henao.
What should our habits be if pets sleep in our beds?
Isabella Roa, Veterinarian of the Gabrica Science Program, experts in pets.
5 recommendations to sleep with your pet and take care of its health.
- Give pets baths at least once a month, as well as brushing to remove excess hair and dirt that can be harbored in their body.
- Keep your pet’s paws clean, because with their daily walks and other activities, they can pick up and bring home contaminants from the street to the bedding, increasing the risk of possible diseases or infections.
- Do external deworming (eradicating fleas and ticks that can be contracted in the street), to prevent these parasites from reaching our home. This is of utmost importance, since they are transmitters of diseases that, through the bite, we could contract diseases.
The cleanliness of your room is fundamental. Sweep and disinfect your spaces with products that eliminate the germs that arrive through your pets.