If you're a pet owner, you might think there is nothing better than snuggling up with your dog on a cold night or being greeted with a slobbery kiss. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control warns that getting too close to your dog or cat can increase your risk of a dangerous infection. Here, a brief guide:
What can you catch from your pet?
A number of "unlikely" conditions have been caused by sleeping with, kissing, or getting licked by a pet, according to a report published in the Centers for Disease Control journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. There are
How common is this?
While pet lovers should be aware of the potential for infection, it's rare. "It's difficult to interpret this report without an idea of how many millions of people had a dog lick their ear and didn't get an infection,"
How concerned should pet owners be?
Not very. While small children and those with weakened immune systems should be cautious, "for the majority of people in the U.S., it's probably more dangerous to sleep in a bed than it is to sleep with your pet," Karesh says, given that some 450 people die each year from falling out of bed.
How many people share their beds with their dogs anyway?
Pet ownership has been on the rise for decades. The
What can pet owners do to lessen the risk of disease?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The age of miracles is over — even for the religious
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
Subscribe to the Week