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Sick Dogs, Sick Humans?

Can sick dogs pass diseases to their human family?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a new study that says dog owners shouldn’t share the bed with their dogs (or any other animals, for that matter).  The reason:  people who share a bed with their dogs are apparently at risk for contracting diseases from them.  One example in the study told of a woman who caught meningitis by kissing the family dog.  The study went on to say that of the 250 diseases that can be passed from animals to humans, over 100 of them come from family pets.


sick dogs

On the other hand, a group called the Petplan Veterinary Scientific Advisory Board looked at this study and thought differently.  The group, which is made of veterinarians who advise the pet insurance company Petplan, said that healthy, well-cared for dogs pose little danger to their human family members.  They acknowledged that animals can carry serious diseases but if a dog is healthy, gets regular vet care and has owners that are watchful for parasites, there’s a pretty low chance of them passing diseases along.

That seems straightforward and sensible.  If a dog is healthy and free of ticks and fleas, then it makes sense that they wouldn’t be too risky to cuddle with.  The exception would be if they are exposed to a lot of other potentially-infected dogs and end up being carriers. 

A common-sense approach seems best here to reduce the risk of catching disease from sick dogs. 

   •  Keep your dog healthy and free of parasites. 
   •  Take extra precautions if you have family members who have a weaker immune system. 
   •  Groom and bathe your big dogs often. 
   •  Wash your hands after petting the dog. 
   •  Keep the dog’s food and water out of the kitchen.
   •  And maybe reconsider letting him drool on your pillow in his sleep.

Tell us:  does news like this change your mind about sharing your bed with your dogs?  Or do they already have their own dog bed? Join the conversation at the Facebook page.


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Photo credit:  TheGiantVermin

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