The authors of a new study suggest it might be.
Pet lovers, I know what you're thinking: Kick the world's cutest doggy out of the bed? (Yes, you are! Yes, you are!) That's absurd. Well, the paper coming out in the February in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases documents cases where humans were likely infected with diseases through their beloved pets.
Even the most well-groomed and healthy-looking pets can carry dangerous bacteria, parasites and viruses that could causes serious illness, the report warns.
The study, which examined illnesses thought to be transmitted by pets in countries around the globe, runs down some pretty creepy examples. A 69-year-old man whose cat licked his hip replacement wound came down with meningitis. And a 9-year-old boy with a cat with fleas got plague. You read that correctly.
The study is quick to point out that zoonotic infections, as they are known, are rare. Good hygiene is key to keeping the risk of infection down, the report states.
But the risk of getting sick from sleeping with, kissing, or being licked by pets is real, especially considering that more than 60 percent of American households have a pet, the study states. According to one survey, among dog owners, 53 percent snuggle up with their pooch and among adult cat owners, 62 percent let their kitty sleep with them.