Major health warning for dog owners as expert reveals the grim illnesses you could get from sharing a bed with your pet | The Sun

DOG owners have been warned they could be at risk of getting a nasty illness if they share a bed with their beloved pooch.

Snuggling up to your favourite four-legged friend increases the chance of transferring microbes that sit on their skin and come from licking, faeces or their fur, an expert has warned.

The bugs can cause a number of problematic conditions including mange and even Lyme disease.

A mite expert, Professor Alejandra Perotti, at the school of biological sciences at the University of Reading, said microscopic parasitic mites that live within the hair follicles of all dogs “can be detrimental to an immunocompromised owner”.

This can possibly cause a skin infection or affect the airways, triggering an illness.

Prof Perotti told MailOnline: "If a dog owner is immunocompromised, or has a weak immune system, even temporarily, then they should not share their bed with a dog."

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While there have been "very few documented cases of dog mites moving to their owners", Prof Perotti said that is because "mites don't get identified properly".

The demodex canis, the most common dog mite, has only been identified in a “handful of cases” involving humans, and can cause mange.

Prof Perotti said: "Ticks, especially here in the UK, are serious vectors of Lyme disease, caused by the bacteria borrelia. A dog owner might take their pet out for a nice walk in a park where deer abound, or the dog visits places with deer."

The warning echoes the advice from the experts at bed and mattress retailer Happy Beds as warmer days are just around the corner.

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The Happy Beds experts said: “The loose hairs in the bedding can cause a lot of irritation to not only yourself as the owner but your pet too.

“This fur can also harbour bugs and germs that can be passed onto you as you sleep.

“It’s commonly misconstrued that fur is the main cause of these risks but it is in fact animal dander that can cause serious health problems.

“This protein is found in the pet’s hair, saliva, skin, and waste and is made up of minuscule particles which are where the risk lies.

“Dander is tiny and can be inhaled easily through the air causing potential problems with breathing and the lungs.

“This irritation can eventually lead to asthma in severe cases.

“Loose hair in the bed can heavily impact the quality of sleep too as breathing in this polluted air can add strain to the respiratory system causing the body to not fully rest at night.”

Top tips to deal with shedding pets

Happy Beds also revealed the best ways for dealing with shedding season:

  • Avoid sleeping directly with shedding pets, especially during this time.
  • Add an air humidifier to the bedroom to remove dander and aid breathing.
  • Brush your pet daily to remove excess fur and reduce shedding.
  • Take your pet to a professional groomer every 6-8 weeks to stay on top of the shedding. Use of de-shedding shampoo can also reduce the volume of shedding from your pet.
  • Purchase attachments for your vacuum that specifically target pet hair.
  • Use de-shedding tools and mitts to scrape and remove the excess fur.

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