In the News: Snuggling with Pets in Bed Could Be Bad for Your Health

Do you allow your pets to sleep in bed with you? If you do, it may be bad for your health, according to a study published in the February issue of the CDC’s journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The study details examples of people who contracted health problems, like parasites, meningitis and even worse diseases by sleeping in the same bed with their pets. For instance, in one case, a boy developed the plague after he shared his bed with his flea-infested cat, as fleas are  notorious for carrying this disease. Another case details a 60-year-old British woman who got meningitis after kissing her dog.    

This could be a problem for many pet parents. An estimated 21% to 33% of the 60 million pet dogs in the US sleep on or in their family’s beds and 60% of the 75 million cats do the same, as reported in a recent Los Angeles Times article.

But before we start kicking Fido and Fluffy out of our beds, veterinary experts weighing in on the issue reassure pet parents that while there is a risk, the likelihood of contracting a bad disease is extremely rare.

In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) President Dr. Larry Kornegay tells MSNBC, “I’ve been in practice for 40 years and I see the bond between people and their pets and the positive effects pets can have on humans, which I believe outweighs any risk, whether you sleep with a pet or not.”

The AVMA doesn’t have a formal recommendation when it comes to pets sleeping in human beds. Instead, the association advises pet parents to take their dogs and cats to the veterinarian for regular wellness exams, vaccinations and dental care. The association also encourages pet parents to wash their hands often, especially after handling feces and before preparing food.

What do you think of this study? If you share your bed with pets, will you stop doing so based on these warnings?

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

Pet Insurance Blog - Regular Check ups

Many companion animals are not getting proper care because about 24% of pet parents believe regular medical check-ups aren’t necessary, according to a new veterinary industry study.

The Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study sought to explain the decline in veterinary visits over the past several years. Other factors contributing to this decline that the study identified include the economic impact of the recession, the fragmentation of veterinary services and the cost of care. Additionally, many consumers substitute online research for clinic visits and have difficulty getting their felines to the veterinarian.

In fact, the study found a full one-third of pet parents have not taken their cats to the veterinarian within the last year due to “feline resistance.” The study found pet parents extend the time between visits because it’s difficult to get the kitties to comply. This lack of care is particularly harmful to senior cats, as they’re prone to diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure and cancer.

The study also highlighted the cost of veterinary services as a major reason for pet parents not taking their animals to the veterinarian. As with human health care, veterinary costs have risen significantly over the last 10 years, and 53 percent of pet parents say these expenses are much higher than they expected. We’re here to help on this front with pet insurance that can help pet parents afford quality veterinary care.

The online survey of 2,000 pet parents was conducted by Bayer Animal Health, the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) and Brakke Consulting.

Read more results from the study.

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Pet Health Insurance Headlines

WELCOME,
PET PARENTS!

As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, a 7-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.