Ok Ok... I admit it! After years of using words like; 'DISGUSTING!' 'UNHYGENIC!' and 'WRONG' to describe pet owners who allow their pets to sleep in their bed, I plead guilty to the same offense.
The thing is, my pre-pet owner perception that these adorable little creatures (or big in others cases) should under no circumstance be allowed to even sleep in ones room, never lone their bed, has shifted a tad since I moved into a house also occupied by my niece Bella, and cheeky nephew Basil. In fact, it goes something like this….
I have a queen size bed to myself (well not really so it seems) in which I occupy about twenty percent of the right side. To my left, lying spooned to my side like she is about to fall of the bed (when in actual fact she has eighty percent of it), is my gorgeous niece Bella. Bella is a four year old Maltese/Shitzu. I'm not done yet, as lying sprawled out on my chest with his arms clinging around my neck, holding on for dear life is my cuddly one year old nephew rag doll cat Basil.
While allowing your pet to share your bed is not uncommon in the western world, has the potential diseases we are exposing ourselves to in doing this ever really occurred to us? I know I was very blasé to these potential diseases until I gave myself the dreaded reality check……… I googled ‘pets sleeping in bed with their owner.’ Oh my……
Extensive research has been conducted into what types of potential health risks we are exposing ourselves to when we fall sucker to our beloved pets, and let them share our beds. In fact, findings from studies executed all over the world have been a real eye-opener. Now I’m no pet expert, but I know that words such as CAT SCRATCH, BUBONIC PLAGUE, MENINGITIS, and CHAGAS DISEASE just to name a few can’t be good!
Recent reports by researchers have identified many dangers and health risks that can face those who continually allow our pets to snuggle with us, and these risks are even higher for people with vulnerable immune systems, asthma sufferers, as well as young children. Veterinarians have advised that there are several considerations that may help reduce the threat of the spread of disease from our pets. Regular visits to your local vets for check-ups is a good place to start, and strongly advised to ensure they are healthy and kept parasite free. But like with so many diseases, preventions is the best approach to avoid many of the pet-contracted conditions which can affect humans. Put simply…. Perhaps we need to consider if we should be allowing our pets to sleep in our beds.
How though, after years of permitting this behavior do you find reprieve? Each night after telling myself 'this is the last night they can sleep in my bed' both Bella and Basil seem to weasel their way in. With my new-found awareness of the health risks I am exposing myself to in allowing Bella and Basil share my bed, I feel my abilities as a disciplinarian of my niece and nephew need to be stepped-up a notch. It looks like it’s time for them to get acquainted with the lounge room. Sorry guys! All you pet-loving pushovers like myself out there..... we need to remember that our pets, (although to many they are our children) are PETS, and less human than we tend to make them.