Fido is your best friend for good reason. He's your constant companion from morning until night, even cuddling and sleeping with you in bed. Curling up in the sack with your furry friend may bring warmth and comfort, but also the risk of some uninvited and potentially dangerous guests.
It's hard to imagine that sweet Fido puts you at risk for contracting bubonic plague while snuggling with him between the sheets. Bubonic plague was known as the Black Death during the Middle Ages after the disease wiped out millions of people. Although rare, bubonic plague can be transmitted to your pooch after he consumes an infected rodent or receives a bite from an infected flea. In turn, he can pass the disease along to you in bed through his body fluids, such as deciding to give you a friendly lick in the middle of the night.
A goodnight kiss from Fido in bed can possibly give you MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is a contagious bacteria that triggers infections throughout the body. It's tougher to cure than other staph strains and doesn't respond to most antibiotics. Both humans and dogs can carry the drug-resistant MRSA bacteria in their noses or on the skin. MRSA can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, receiving a bite from an infected dog or if your pooch licks your face while you're sleeping, according to Ben Sun of the California Department of Health.
Parasites, such as roundworm and hookworm, often make themselves at home in your pooch's intestines or fur. He may have caught the unpleasant parasites through his mother's milk or by consuming infected larvae while outdoors. The nasty critters can latch onto you if you accidentally ingest worm eggs from your pup's fur or feces, or through his saliva that gets inside your mouth while you're sleeping. The eggs will hatch in your intestines and the newborn worms can make their way to various tissues throughout the body, potentially causing serious health problems.
Make sure that your pooch receives regular veterinary checkups. At least 60 percent of human pathogens originally came from an animal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals most susceptible to contracting disease from dogs are those with weak or underdeveloped immune systems, such as children under 5 years old, infants, and HIV/AIDS, cancer and organ transplant patients. If it's emotionally difficult to kick Fido out of your bed, consider making a doggy sleeping area in a corner of your bedroom. You'll be able to sleep in the same room with your furry companion, but reduce your chance of developing illness.
- Illinois Department of Public Health: Questions and Answers About Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus for Pet Owners
- Daily Mail: Don't Sleep With Your Pet, You May Catch Something
- WebMD: Pets in Bed: More Dangerous Than Bedbugs?
- NBCNews.com: :Out of the Sack, Cat! Sleeping With Pets Carries Disease Risk
- PetMD: Plague in Dogs
- Medical News Today: MRSA Transmission Between Dogs/Cats And Humans: An Increasing Problem
- BBC News: MRSA Risk From Dog and Cat Bites
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Diseases from Dogs
- Midland-Reporter Telegram: Parasites Can Spread Form Pets to Humans
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases — At a Glance
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images