By Paula EbbenBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Whether it’s a dog or cat, pets become a member of the family. But health concerns are raised when some pet owners take that relationship too far.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

When Chrissey Crew of Nashua gets her five dogs ready for bed at night, she’s getting them ready for her bed. They all sleep together. “I consider them full fledged members of our family,” said Crew.

That’s a pretty common sentiment. A new survey shows 56% of dog owners let their dogs sleep next to them.

Dr. Bruno Chomel, a veterinarian, said “Sometimes we forget that they aren’t our children. They are pets and also have their own lives, and there are diseases that can be transmitted.”

Dr. Chomel is one of the lead authors of a study just published by the Centers for Disease Control. They tracked people who had close contact with their pets, either by sleeping next to them, or allowing their animal to lick and kiss them.

In rare instances, researchers found pet owners caught some pretty scary illnesses, such as the plague, rabies, bacterial infections, meningitis, cat scratch fever, ring worm, and intestinal parasites.

“Some can be very dangerous, “added Dr. Chomel.

The most vulnerable people are the very young, the elderly, and those who have a weakened immune system.

Dr. Chomel said, “You always think it will never happen to me, but when it happens to you it can be very sad, and very bad.”

It was for Eric Marlowe Garrison. He caught a terrible case of ring worm from his roommate’s cat. “The experience was pretty awful,” he said,

Despite the negative reports Chrissey remains steadfast about where her dogs are going to sleep. “My pets will continue to sleep with my husband and I forever, we love it,” she said with a laugh.

Experts say the most important thing to do is make sure your pet is free of ticks and fleas, both of which can transmit disease. Also limit your contact if your pet appears sick.

Paula Ebben

Comments (20)
  1. timma says:

    my corn flakes are soggy

  2. Thomas Hood says:

    Ya know what else is vewy vewy dangerous? Walking! You can fall down or get hit by a bus or keel over of fear! You might drown if a watertower collapses next to you too!

    You should be careful not to interact with humans either! Humans are known to kill other humand and carry diseases like halitosis and mad cow!

  3. Ellen says:

    My dog sleeps in our beds, and the only thing dangerous is that he snores up a storm. takes over the blankets, and not only that demands the whole bed. God, I never realized how much a man has in common with a dog.

    1. Thomas Hood says:

      Oh there’s more than that… We are loyal to a fault (unless there’s something else interesting to chase or sniff around for a while), we eat everything you put in front of us, we tend to drool quite a bit, we bark at the neighbors… I could go on…

      1. Ellen says:

        Thomas, Thomas, Thomas, Only Kidding, but your gender does have a habit of not cleaning up after yourselves, just like my doggie, and not a dog thing, but could you at least put the toilet seat down.

      2. Thomas Hood says:

        That may take a level of commitment to which we as a gender may not be willing to commit.

  4. cat foster mom says:

    DON’T WE HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT?? Let’s give animals a break and blame humans for spreading disease, murder etc.
    There is plenty of other suffering to worry about. Focus on giving homeless animals a much needed place to be loved

  5. Cynic says:

    Remember when everybody in School got Ringworm? What ever happend to it? The teachers used to tell us “Don’t let the Cat Sleep on your head.

  6. Timmy says:

    Was it really necessary to post a story like this? One of my dogs sleeps with me often and he will continue to do so if he wants to.

    I guess breathing is dangerous too because we might inhale something other than oxygen and then make us die in a horrible fashion.

  7. smack says:

    I would like to know the odds, say one in a million? I have eaten rare hamburgers all my life and neither I nor anyone I know has contracted ecoli. I didn’t want our dog to sleep with the kids for one reason…..he often has ticks and I thought that was a good reason. We have to stop scrutinizing everything we do in daily life and find danger in it. Most of the time it is not rational.

  8. Cynic says:

    As long as it doesn’t Smoke in bed………..

  9. chris says:

    sleeping with a sticky animal that eats feces is disgusting i wouldnt date any of u gross people take a little pride in yourself,cleanliness is next to godliness

  10. Priana says:

    Sleeping with pets is disgusting.!… they are animals not people. I love animals but I don’t have pets because they are so dirty… hair, drools, dander, plus they walk around with their butt holes exposed and they don’t use toilet paper if you know what I mean.. Gross… and they lick their own butt holes then lick you and people think its cute they were just kissed… ICK…. Can’t tell you how many homes I go to with pets and they smell terrible… pet owners don’t even notice the stink…

    1. Jaycee says:

      This comment is for Priana I find it hard to believe that you love animals with all of your negative comments. What about humans that smell and we have the ability toshower/bathe whenever we want to. Also, every home has an odor, I have been to many homes that do not own pets and the smell can be pretty terrible too.

    2. THegood says:

      Wow you must hate children ,and spouses,the elderly,must I go on? The traits you list are common among….everything,not just “pets”. And as to the “smell’ of pets, just remember YOU STINK TOO.

  11. Terry says:

    Sorry, but this doctor is a moron. Anyone who takes their pets to the Vet regularly for their wellness check-ups, keeps them up to date on their vaccines, maintains clean and flea and tick free pets has nothing to fear. I am not young and have been sleeping with my pets since I was a kid and have never contracted a thing. Way to spread fear and paranoia, Doc. My dogs are probably safer and cleaner to be around than Doc is.

  12. Nate says:

    what makes you better than an animal? I thought all creatures were creations of god.

  13. fred says:

    You can get aids, hep C, various diseases, VD, any number of things sleeping with other humans…give doggie or kitty a break…

  14. Vetassist says:

    I know that I have 3 dogs that I sleep with every night and I have yet to catch anything. I also know that unless you have a compromised immune system or an open wound it is VERY hard to get ringworm. I have a cat that I am currently treating for ringworm. She has had it for about a month and has been in treatment 3 weeks. I have 4 adults and 4 children living in my house and not one of us has caught it. As long as you keep your pets healthy the chances of you catching something are very low!!

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