Updated: Friday, 21 Jan 2011, 4:52 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011, 6:40 AM EST
By MYFOXATLANTA STAFF/myfoxatlanta
ATLANTA – About 60 percent of Georgians have a pet. And if you’re one of them, you know the deal — they want to sit in your lap, lick your face, and snuggle up to you in bed.
But how close is too close, when it comes to our pets?
To some of us, they’re like our kids. They are our buddies, our sounding boards, sometimes our bedmates. Surveys show more than half of dog and cat owners sleep in the same bed with their pets. But a new CDC study – shows that may not be such a great idea.
Some dog owners in DeKalb County say they sleep in the same bed with their dog, sometimes with several dogs. The reason – they like the closeness of being able to snuggle up to their pets.
A recent CDC report shows there may be a downside to getting up close and personal withy your pet.
If you regularly – share a bed with your pet – or let your dog or cat lick your face – researchers say listen up. Vets from the University of California-Davis and the California Public Health Department say you might be getting more from your pet than just love and affection. Getting too close may raise your risk of contracting everything from worms, to bacteria, to viruses.
Dr. Matt Roper – a veterinarian with Briarcliff Animal Clinic says puppies and kittens are the most likely to pass on parasites like roundworm. So does that mean you have to kick your furry buddy out of your bed? Not necessarily.
“If you can limit your exposure, especially when they’re young, that’s going to be your best bet as far as reducing your transmission rate of any parasites or bacteria. As they get older and you know that they are healthy and you don’t have any parasites, you could, again, stay away from the face, as far as licking and things like that, but if they want to sleep in the bed, that would be okay,” said Dr. Matt Roper.
The CD study shows the likelihood of pets passing germs to their owners is pretty small.
But it happens and sometimes those infections are serious, even life-threatening. Researchers say pets should not be allowed to sleep in the same bed with young children – or with anyone with a weakened immune system or to lick them.