One of the rules we implemented when Toby came into our lives was, no sleeping in the bed. The first 8 months of Toby’s life, he slept in his crate. But like the many other rules we initially had in place for him, they have fallen through.
Some people understand the reason why a pet may sleep in bed with you, others don’t. If you are someone who sleeps in bed with your pooch, have you ever wondered if this behaviour is healthy?
According to public and veterinary health expert Dr Jane Heller (PhD) of Charles Sturt University, NSW, any close contact with your pet carries some risk of infection.
“Pets are not sterile… so there is always some chance of bacterial or parasitic transfer from companion animals to humans. And clearly those risks are greater if you are sleeping in, or generally closely sharing, the same environment as your animal,” she says.
However, as long as you and your furball are both healthy, and your pooch is treated regularly for worms and fleas, even close contact is rarely a problem.
The very low risks of catching something from your pooch depends on what they have eaten or what is living on their body. Pooches who eat raw meat or bones can be exposed to salmonella which can be shed through their faeces. If your dog has small poo particles that contain salmonella on their fur, you may be exposed to illness such as gastro. But don’t worry, this happening is very unlikely.
There is also a bug called staphylococcus which lives around your pooches’ nose and in their fur, and can cause a range of wound infections. If you have an open wound and your pooch is carrying staphylococcus, your wound could get infected. Staphylococcus can also cause pneumonia and meningitis.
Overall, if you have a healthy immune system the chance of you getting sick because you let your furball sleep in bed with you is very low.