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Letting sleeping dogs — and cats — lie could make you sick, a paper to be published by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control journal warns.

That pet in your bed could be passing on meningitis, toxocariasis or cat-scratch disease, among others.

“We don’t want to scare people, but especially for children and people with compromised systems, there is a risk,” co-author Dr. Bruno Chomel, a veterinary biologist, told the Star.

“Pets are pets, they are not children,” he said. “There is some confusion in our society, and pets are becoming substitutes for children.”

Sixty per cent of cats and 33 per cent of dogs in the United States sleep on their owners’ beds; the numbers are even higher in the Netherlands.

In the U.K., 14 per cent of dogs and 45 per cent of cats snuggle onto their owners’ duvets.

In France, it’s 30 per cent of dogs and 45 per cent of cats.

Chomel knows the warning will be controversial; advance word of it has already provoked hate email. He counters that the study is scientific and raises a small, but significant, public-health concern. (Read More)

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