Sleeping with your pet dog could spread E. coli, other harmful bacteria

Sleeping with your pet dog could spread E. coli, other harmful bacteria
PHOTO: Pixabay

How many of us go to bed with our pets next to us every night?

While there aren't any statistics for Singaporean pet owners who do this, it's pretty common in other parts of the world.

A survey in March revealed that half of all British dog and cat lovers sleep with their pets in bed - despite the dangers this poses to their health.

In fact, a recent video published by Inside Edition further emphasised how harmful it could be.

Two pet owners featured on the show allowed their dogs' paws to be swabbed and sent off to the lab to test for any form of bacteria.

Both owners share the same bed as their pooches every night.

Results from the test showed that all the dogs tested had E.coli - a type of bacteria normally found in intestines - and they all carried multiple types of bacteria and fungi.

One of the dogs carried a bug that could cause pneumonia and meningitis.

However, while they were visibly shocked, the pet owners maintained that they would continue sleeping with their pets albeit with greater precautionary measures.

The findings from the March survey in the UK were also startling as they revealed the poor hygiene habits of pet owners in Britain.

At least 2,000 dog and cat owners were surveyed and it was found that 30.5 per cent of them never wash or clean their pets.

Said a report from The Mirror, pets can carry and spread stomach bugs like salmonella, and can infect humans with parasites, fungal infections, tapeworm, roundworm and some superbugs.

It's understandable why many pet owners choose to sleep with their furry friends though.

A small research conducted by the Mayo Clinic earlier this month found that sleeping in the same room with your pet may actually lead to a "more restful night".

But that's not the case for those who sleep next to their dogs.

The same study revealed that sharing the same bed as your dog might "negatively affect sleep quality".

Pet owners with asthma and pet allergies are also encouraged by the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep dogs out of the bedroom.

Although contracting a disease from a family pet is rare, about 60 per cent of all human viruses can be transmitted by an animal according to the CDC.

Perhaps it is beneficial (to an extent) for some pet owners to sleep in the same room as their dogs, but for the benefit of your health - maybe it's best to keep your pal's paws off your bed when it's time to snooze.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

 

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