LET SLEEP­ING DOGS LIE

THEY MAY LOVE JUMP­ING ON THE BED, BUT SHOULD YOU BE SHAR­ING A PIL­LOW WITH YOUR PET?

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE PETS - WORDS: DR KYRA CRAFT Dr Kyra Craft BVSc (Hons), Wet Noses Mo­bile Vet head vet­eri­nar­ian, wet­noses.com.au

Do you en­joy nap­ping with your pet pal? Al­low­ing your pet to sleep in your bed is a hot is­sue – is it a good idea?

It’s been re­ported that up to 79 per cent of pet par­ents al­low pets to share beds with their hu­man fam­ily mem­bers. That’s a lot of cosy pets.

The hu­man med­i­cal world has voiced con­cerns about this prac­tice – let’s take a look why. It makes per­fect sense that peo­ple who suf­fer from pet al­ler­gies or asthma should not sleep with their dog or cat or even al­low them in the bed­room.

Though for those pet par­ents des­per­ate to share life with a pet, there is the op­tion of al­lergy shots to build up a tol­er­ance to the pet dan­der that causes al­ler­gic re­ac­tions. Keep­ing an air fil­ter in your bed­room may also help.

I would strongly rec­om­mend that peo­ple who have dif­fi­culty sleep­ing con­sider keep­ing pets out of the bed­room.

A study re­leased by re­searchers in the USA found that about half the par­tic­i­pants had a dog or cat, and 53 per cent of those pet own­ers said their pets dis­turbed their sleep in some way nightly.

Per­haps your dog scratches through­out the night or moves into dif­fer­ent po­si­tions reg­u­larly – this may well dis­turb your pre­cious sleep cy­cle. Many dogs even snore loudly.

Pets can be a source of round­worm in­fec­tions, mite in­fec­tions and flea in­fes­ta­tions. Zoonotic dis­eases are those that are ca­pa­ble of pass­ing from an­i­mal to hu­man – for ex­am­ple, ring­worm, gi­a­r­dia, E. coli, sal­mo­nella, psit­ta­co­sis (from pet birds), and the list goes on.

How­ever, if your pet has reg­u­lar vet checks, is up to date with worm, flea and tick preven­tion and is oth­er­wise healthy and happy, there is scant ev­i­dence to sug­gest that shar­ing your bed is detri­men­tal to your health.

In­deed, hu­man fam­ily mem­bers are much more likely to trans­mit dis­eases to each other dur­ing bed-shar­ing than our pets are.

Only well-be­haved pets should be al­lowed the priv­i­lege – al­low­ing ag­gres­sive or dom­i­nant pets on the bed may re­in­force their be­hav­iour.

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