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Should you be sleeping with your pets?

A little Jack Russell Terrier sleeps with a plush toy during the world dog show in Salzburg, Austria, on Friday, May 18, 2012. More than 30.000 dogs are expected to take part at the exhibition in Salzburg. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

Pet owners often wonder if it is safe to sleep with their dogs or cats. There has been much research suggesting that dogs and cats could carry parasites or other disease-carrying insects to the bed. Professor James Logan says, “There’s no doubt that dogs can carry bacteria and parasites that could do us some harm. But, generally I think the risk is very low. You could argue that being exposed to some of these organisms might actually do you some good. People who have grown up with pets and other animals tend to have fewer allergies.”

Another concern for dog and cat owners is ‘spoiling’ the pet if they are allowed to sleep with their owners in the bed. Dr. Jess French suggests, “Dogs that get used to sleeping with you can become stressed when you’re away, so there is an argument that having their own safe space is the better approach.” Most doctors suggest sleeping with their pets if they do not have children. The possessive tendency can work to the pet owner’s disadvantage if children are in the bed as well. According to a recent survey, 50% of pet owners are willing to take on the risk of sleeping with their pets because it eases their anxiety and keeps away loneliness.

Do you sleep with your pet or does your pet have his own space to sleep?

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