Monday, January 24, 2011

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie....YES!

An article posted on AOL news this week admonished pet owners to NOT sleep with their pets. It seems there is reported to be a SERIOUS risk that pets can transmit diseases and parasites to their owners. The sensational title even proclaims that sleeping dogs in your bed can KILL you.

Now I'm no expert, but I believe that most contagious diseases are species-specific. In other words, I'm much more likely to contract an illness from my spouse or my kids if THEY sleep with me. Or hug me, or kiss me.....and need we mention the risk of sexually transmitted diseases in humans?

Shucks, I'm really in serious trouble when I get into my car...I might get into an accident and get injured or even killed. Assuming I make it safely to my destination, if it is a public place like a store or a bank, I am routinely exposed to MRSA, flu and cold bugs and even more serious diseases like tuberculosis that travel undeterred throughout the human population.

Assuming someone loves his dog enough to allow him into his bed at night, that person likely also loves their dog enough to treat him for fleas and other parasites. Dogs licking us will make us sick? I dunno about that, but somebody sure gave me a nasty flu bug last Thanksgiving, and betcha dollars to donuts it was NOT a dog.

Two examples were used in this article. In the first, a child supposedly contracted bubonic plague from sleeping with a flea-infested cat. Now, unless that cat was ill with the plague that is a highly dubious scenario. And it's about as likely as, well, getting shot at a Safeway store in Arizona or maybe even at a school or post office. More likely the flea in question originated with a sick wild animal. And anyway, don't most of today's pet owners routinely treat their pets for fleas and other parasites?

The other example cited was the report of a couple who repeatedly became re-infected with MRSA. This problem was attributed to their dog. Gee, by definition MRSA is a "resistant" bacteria, difficult to eliminate even with the strongest of antibiotics. Seriously, blaming the dog for a bacteria that is resistant to treatment? Ridiculous! The couple probably passed that bacteria back and forth just fine without any help from the dog.

Given the fact that there are so many documented therapeutic mental health benefits to including pets in our lives, it smacks of a bizarre, pet-hating agenda by the likes of PETA and similar social miscreants to draw such bold, unsubstantiated conclusions.

As to wound licking, saliva has enzymes and other beneficial components that may possibly assist in wound healing. But, on the other hand, saliva can also in some rare cases transmit other pathogenic bacteria. And, there may be a certain risk to those with compromised immune systems like children and the elderly. It's probably good advice to not treat your wounds with licks from your dog's tongue. But what does that have to do with a dog sharing your bed, or couch, or for that matter, sharing the same floor space?

If your true concern is reducing serious disease....keep the dogs, ditch the humans!

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget the lady in the CDC study who enjoys feeding her pup by transferring food from her own mouth to her dogs, sorta like an emperor penguin. Jeeeesh.... Hardly typical human-dog contact. We wrote a diatribe on this over at called "How the Media Exaggerated 'Sleeping with Pets' Disease."