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Why you should never let your pet into your bed

Country Living UK logo Country Living UK 7/06/2017 Katie Avis-Riordan

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc How often do you wash your pet? According to a new survey, for a third of British cat and dog owners, the answer is never.

The research by Animalfriends.co.uk also discovered that a quarter of owners don't wash their pets' food and water bowls on a regular basis. And, perhaps more surprisingly, they found that 18% of owners let their animals eat food from family plates, with 32% finding pet hairs in their meals.

The results, found from a poll of 2,000 cat or dog owners, also showed that nearly half of Brits (46%) are happy to let their pet share a bed with them. This is not only unhygienic but potentially harmful to our health.

Animals can carry and spread stomach bugs like salmonella, and can infect us with parasites, fungal infections, tapeworm, roundworm and some superbugs.

The US-based Centers for Disease Control has summarised the dangers of sharing a bed with your dog. The lead author of their report Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, says that people who sleep with their pets can acquire so-called zoonotic diseases (meaning diseases that come from other animals).

But there is one part of the country which is a worse offender than any other in terms of pet hygiene. This is Chelmsford, where 46% of owners admitted to never washing their pets and 12% claim they've been told their house "smells of dog".

"Many people will only remember to wash their pet's bedding if it's visibly dirty or smells, however, as pointed out in our survey, many pet owners get used to the smell of their animals," Westley Pearson, managing director from Animalfriends.co.uk said. "It's advisable to wash your pet's beds as often as you change your own bedding.

"As for your pet's food bowls, these should be washed daily to keep the germs at bay to protect both you and your pet. You wouldn't eat your dinner on a dirty plate, so why should your dog?"

We are sure that you take the bast care of your family pets but, when it comes to hygiene, there's no harm in a gentle reminder for those who perhaps let things slip.

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