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What's Up Magazine

Say goodnight, Fluffy

Nov 19, 2014 11:45AM ● By Cate Reynolds

Curling up with our furry friends may hold lots of appeal, especially as the weather turns frigid. But it may not be the healthiest thing to do—even though half of dog owners admit to sleeping with their pet and an even higher number, 62 percent, share their bed with a cat…or two.

According to Sit ‘n Sleep, a major California mattress retailer with obvious concern for its customers, there are potential health dangers humans can encounter when sleeping night after night with their feline and canine companions. Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine says, “Sleeping with a pet is becoming quite common, and there are risks associated with it, even if it is not very frequent.” There have been documented cases of life-threatening infections such as plague, internal parasites, and other serious diseases caused by close animal-to-human contact.

Cats are even more dangerous considering that bacterial infections from cat scratch disease aren’t entirely uncommon and can cause swelling of the lymph nodes and potentially lethal damage to the liver and kidneys. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 20,000 people contract cat scratch disease each year.

On the plus side, according to the article (there are always two sides to any story), sleeping with your pet can lower your blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and decrease feelings of loneliness. Plus, pet owners have more opportunity to engage in outdoor activities.

--Sarah Hagerty
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