Adults and children oftentimes enjoy sleeping with household pets. They can keep us warm, feel comfortable, make us feel safe and loved. They may lick our faces, hands or other exposed areas before or during sleeping time.
Scratches and bites, wounds, abscesses, ulcerations or other breaks in the skin can allow bacteria to enter the body. Pay special attention to these areas when they are present. Eliminate bacteria transmission and infection by keeping them covered to heal quickly. Also, take measures to prevent your pet from licking these areas.
What happens when the pests traveling on our pets begin to travel on us? This is an issue of particular concern for family members with compromised immune systems. If someone in your family has a reduced efficiency immune system due to disease, illness, treatment, aging or other factors you’ll want to take special care when your pets stretch out beside them. Good pet practices are important for all members of your family. Those practices are critical for family members with reduced immunity to infection or disease!
Zoonoses in the Bedroom places particular attention on several good pet habits that owners must take to maintain the health and well being of their family members when sharing sleeping space. The Center for Disease Control, vigilantly paying attention to the social-emotional role of pets in households, stresses preventative measures when owners choose to sharing sleeping space with their pets.
Take special care to treat your pets for fleas. This should be a lifetime habit you’re already consistently addressing with your veterinarian. If not, talk with your vet to determine the best course of flea reduction and elimination for your family’s household. Your vet can help you decide which product to use to keep your loved ones safe. The doctor may also have recommendations to make about treatment options that will provide additional support for your pet’s health and well being.
Tick-Tock It’s Time to Treat
Treating for ticks will be a discussion you need to have with your veterinarian. Your doctor will be able to recommend treatments and alternatives as appropriate for your pet’s health status and your home’s location. You may already be treating for ticks and you’ll want your vet’s feedback about other concerns and the impact sleeping with your pets may have on your family.
Remembering to wash your hands frequently will support your family with reducing or eliminating bacteria that may be shared between you and your pets. Human hands are probably the area of our body that have the most frequent opportunities to transmit disease. Typically, you may not give much thought to the places your hands have been before they appear in your kitchen preparing food or handling your child’s toys. Scrub-a-dub with lots of suds whenever possible!
Pearly Whites Need to Stay Bright
Dental care for your pet is important. When your pet is sharing your sleeping space keeping the pearly whites bright will have additional importance for the health and well being of your family. Tartar and buildup on your pet’s teeth will gather bacteria in their mouths. Happily licking you or your family in bed can share that bacteria.
Keeping your pet’s vaccinations current will help it maintain good health. Those shots will also minimize chances that you or your family will become ill from something that can be prevented. Your family veterinarian has a schedule for your pet’s shots and can advise you as to necessary vaccine updates and out-dated practices.
Preventing parasites in your home can be fairly easy when all members participate in preventative practices. These practice include good hand washing during meal preparation, carefully handling feces and hand washing after handling, keeping litter boxes covered and clean, and maintaining a feces-free yard. Pet owners who implement flea and tick treatment measures will also help to prevent parasites in their homes, beds and on their skin.
Infectious diseases can be transmitted from dogs and cats to owners that share sleeping space with them. Notable examples include: Pasteurellosis in Japan and the United Kingdom, Cheyletiella dermatitis in France and cat-scratch disease in Taiwan.