Pet Set: The pros and cons to sleeping with animals

LhasaHe’s the most well-behaved man I have ever slept with,” said Christa Wilm, who owns Tito, a Scottish terrier, who sleeps in her bed.

Tito is not the only Palm Beach pet to sleep in his or her owners’ beds. Studies show that at least half of all dog owners sleep with their pets. But in Palm Beach, where our dogs and cats are like family — often better than family — the figure is probably closer to 90 percent.

“We wouldn’t ask a family member to sleep on the floor,” exclaimed John Archer, an art conservator at Pierce-Archer.

Some locals not only sleep with their dogs and cats, but even their exotic pets. Christian Adair, a student at Forest Hill High, sleeps with his Vietnamese boa who likes the warmth of his bed. “But my Blue Beauty sleeps in the pillowcase, not on it,” said Christian.

Some dogs and cats have been trained to do something when they get out of their owners’ beds. “Our boxer, Mallory, picks up the Shiny Sheet for us each morning,” boasted Katherine Jones of West Palm Beach.

But a few residents admitted that they don’t sleep with their pets.

“He’s too big, too old and too smelly,” said 13-year-old Grace Catherine Stewart of her English bull terrier.

And islanders Mat and Helene Lorentzen, said “The bed is full enough with three boys jumping up and down.”

Here’s some information on dog and cats sleeping with their owners.

Is it healthy to sleep with your dogs or cats? For them yes; for us, possibly no. But if they’re not “high-risk pets” (puppies or old sick dogs), and they don’t pick up fleas and ticks outside, and you are not immune deficient, the chances are very low of catching anything from them.

What can you catch from sleeping with your pet? Do you really want to know? One man got meningitis when his dog slept under the covers and kept licking his hip-replacement wound.

According to Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, dogs and cats have transmitted staph infections, dermatitis, cat-scratch fever, and even the plague to their bedmates.

Is it good for the dog or cat to sleep with us? Besides the warmth and comfort for them, it might keep them out of trouble. A dog wandering around at night might raid the treat jar. And a feline could become, well, a cat burglar. A California cat who stayed outdoors at night turned out to be the burglar who stole more than 600 towels, lingerie and other items drying outside during the night in his neighborhood.

Why do some pets keep moving around all night? Some dogs and cats seem to suffer from a restless paw syndrome, even hitting their owners, unintentionally (we hope). Other pets snore, dream loudly (yes, they do dream, like humans, but probably about chasing rabbits and stuff).

Pets also have different sleep cycles than we do, so they may wake up when we’re asleep, anxious for them to join us.

Is there a way to stop pets from sleeping with us? For dogs, try putting a comfortable pillow with treats for them on the floor nearby or at the far end of the bed.

Some cat owners have put a noisy hair dryer (or similar gadget) next to their beds, turning it on if the cat tries to come into their beds.

Why does my dog sleep belly-up in bed? Wild dogs never expose their bellies because that makes them defenseless. So when your dog sleeps on his back, it means he’s relaxed and trusts you.

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/lifestyles/pets/pet-set-the-pros-and-cons-to-sleeping-2091551.html

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