Tag: sleeping with dogs
Until the last couple of weeks, Dan Rubin was among that minority of Americans who don’t let their pets into bed with them.
That’s right, I said minority, at least according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), which earlier this year released the results of a survey showing nearly half of dog owners and 62 percent of cat owners share their beds with their pets.
That’s a pretty stunning figure — one that shows not just our increasing closeness to our pets, but our willingness to proudly admit it, even to survey-taking strangers inquiring about our bedroom habits.
But back to Dan (which is how his dog Harley is sometimes sleeping nowadays).
Dan is a friend of mine, a former colleague and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist who never got into the practice of laying down with dogs, at least not in bed. He’s a dog lover, but he’s also a sleep lover, and the latter is more easily accomplished without a 113-pound dog squirming about, he notes.
A couple of weeks ago, Harley, his five-year-old bouvier des Flandres, had leg surgery, Dan explained in his Monday column. And his vet declared stairs off limits for eight weeks.
That meant lonely nights for Harley, who — though not allowed in bed — was accustomed to at least sleeping on the same floor as his family.
Dan’s wife, Mimi, wasn’t about to let that happen. She announced she would sleep downstairs with Harley. Dan, like a dog, followed.
They moved all the furniture out of the TV room and replaced it with a futon mattress, then made a sleeping area for Harley, adjacent to it, topped with his favorite blanket.
But the first night, Dan found Harley on his pillow. A few nights later, Harley settled down on Mimi’s pillow, and they decided there was room for all three, kind of, even with the huge plastic cone Harley has to wear around his neck:
” … He has to wear one of those plastic lamp shades – at the vet’s they called it an Elizabethan collar. It’s about the size of a satellite dish, and he knocks about in the dark with the grace of a rutting Triceratops.”
Harley had surgery for a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. It involved planing the tibia and making a mechanical adjustment so his bones hinge without requiring the support of the damaged ligament, Dan explained.
With Dan’s man cave temporarily converted into a man/wife/dog cave, Dan says he has had to make sacrifices:
“…We can’t watch baseball in bed because Harley likes to rush the screen every time he sees a pitcher go into his windup. Best I can tell, he thinks they’ve got his ball.”
We wish Harley a full and speedy recovery. And we sincerely hope Dan doesn’t give him fleas.
Photo: Courtesy of Dan Rubin
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american pet products association, animals, bed, bouvier des flandres, columnist, dan rubin, dogs, harley, health, pets, philadelphia inquirer, recovery, sharing, sleeping, sleeping with dogs, surgery, veterinary
He further advises that anyone who is licked by a dog wash the area immediately.
To me, a guy who has spent the last eight months with my dog nearly constantly at my side during our travels across America — including in whatever bed we happen to be sleeping in at night — that seems a massive over-reaction.
Bruno Chomel, a professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, says that, while such cases aren’t common, people have contracted infections from sleeping with, kissing and being licked by their pets. Chomel and fellow researcher Ben Sun, of the California Department of Public Health, express their views in the latest issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
I don’t subscribe to that publication, because my theory is the surest way to get a disease is not from sleeping with your dog, but from reading about that disease.
Though I sleep with my dog nightly, I’m not so much concerned about Zoonoses, or diseases transmitted to humans by animals, as I am about Merckitis, a chronic case of which I’ve suffered from since childhood.
It stemmed from a big blue book called The Merck Manual, on my mother’s bookshelf, which allowed you to, based on your symptoms, diagnose your medical issue, read about the treatment and determine, in my case, if I was going to live to see 13.
I must have diagnosed myself with a dozen different diseases, many of them fatal, in the course of matching up my symptoms — usually those of a common cold — with the worst possible maladies.
I remember one night that — congested, unable to breathe through my nose and worried that my throat breathing pipe (non-medical term) might close up – I gathered the necessary supplies to perform an emergency tracheotomy (bic pen, with the ink part removed, pocket knife, duck tape) and kept them under my bed, alongside the book.
The Internet has made it much easier to wrongly self diagnose — just a few clicks and you can jump to the conclusion that you have the most dreaded disease imaginable. The key word there being imaginable. In a way, those medical self-help websites, rather than lessen the need for doctors, only create more of one as we, fueled by our fears, rush to confirm our faulty self diagnoses.
Pulled muscle? I was sure it was a heart attack.
Of course, such concerns are not always entirely baseless, and many of them should be checked out by professionals. But often, they’re only in our heads — having been placed there by WebMD, yourdiagnosis.com, familydoctor.org and the like. Often they are really far-fetched, instilling a fear out of all proportion with reality, which is the case with Chomel’s study, or at least his remarks:
“I think pets can be very nice in the home environment, but certainly, they don’t belong on the bed,” Chomel told LiveScience.
Chomel says humans can contract bubonic plague from flea-infested pets, bacterial infections resistant to multiple strains of antibiotics, and various parasitic worms.
Since 1974, Chomel says, multiple cases of plague have been associated with people in the southwestern U.S. who allowed flea-infested cats to sleep with them. And in a 2008 outbreak, a study found that people infected with bubonic plague were “more likely to have shared a bed with a dog than uninfected counterparts.” (Despite that, I still don’t recommend sharing a bed with uninfected counterparts.)
The authors cite surveys conducted in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands that show up to 45 percent of dogs sleep in their owners’ bed.
Several reports of bacterial infections have been attributed to sharing a bed with pets, and in “multiple” cases, they report, patients acquired various infections after allowing their dogs or cats to lick wounds or damaged skin.
That’s the total opposite of my philosophy. Whenever I get a boo-boo, the first thing I do is let Ace lick it. Then it feels better. If thousands of microscopic parasites enter my bloodstream by doing so, so be it … join the party, fellas.
Don’t tell me not to sleep with my dog, especially when it’s this cold. That’s like saying, because there may be some impurities in the air, I should stop breathing. I’m going to continue to engage in both risky behaviors.
And if worse comes to worst I can always, after consulting my Merck Manual, perform an emergency tracheotomy.
OUR FAVORITE READER COMMENT: “Pity poor Chomel. He has obviously not enjoyed the delight of a canine companion…I’ve spent the past 50 years sleeping with dogs – most of the canine persuasion – and if anything it must have strengthened my immune system … The plague? Only a plague of comfort and love. Poor Chomel.”
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Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bruno chomel, bubonic, davis, diagnosis, disease, dog, dogs, emergency, fleas, germs, infection, infectious, kisses, licks, medical, parasites, pets, plague, research, science, self diagnosis, self help, sick, sleeping with dogs, tracheotomy, transmit, transmitted, university of california, veterinary, zoonoses, zoonosis
With just two days left before Santa comes down the chiminea, even Arizona has decided it’s winter.
The last few days in Cave Creek — where I’m living in a (contradiction in terms alert) stationary motorhome — have been wet and cool, with temperatures plummeting at night to around, prepare yourself, 50 degrees.
We get by, and so far without turning on the heat. Instead I use three blankets and Ace. Normally, unless he’s feeling unusually needy, he’ll fall asleep with his head down by my feet and his rear pointed at my face, which is not without ramifications.
On the cold nights though, and there have been a couple, I reposition his 130 pounds so that we are side by side, pointed the same way, so that I might better absorb his warmth.
He puts up with it for a short time, then goes back to his old position.
Last night, as I reached out to give his head a final pat, only to get a handful of butt, we fell asleep to the pitter-patter — I’m pretty sure I heard both pitters and patters — of a gentle rain falling on the trailer roof, only to be awakened an hour or so later by tremendous pelting thuds of hail on the roof.
A hailstorm can be disconcerting in a real house, but in a trailer — without the attic or the insulation — it’s a lot more personal; every thud seems amplified, and a heavy hail sounds like machine gun fire.
Those whacks were enough to get Ace anxious, and when thunder and lightning rolled through he left the bed in search of a more secure hiding place.
It was as if one roof over his head wasn’t enough, and he was looking for a back-up one. He tried under the dinette table, but that was too cramped. He came back to the bedroom and crawled under the tiny ledge the TV sits on, then decided that wasn’t good enough, either.
So I invited him back on the bed, where he was more than happy to snuggle up as close as he could possibly get, pointed the same way as me, for the duration of the storm.
I threw my an Indian blanket over him, and he seemed to like that even better. I put my arm around him, and that is how we woke up this morning.
I’ve yet to go outside to check my car and my the chiminea for damage, but looking out my window as the sun comes up, the sky looks like maybe it will finally clear up today, and maybe our last few days in Arizona will bring us more sweet sunshine.
On Monday, maybe Tuesday, we’ll start the trip back east, totally unexcited about, and totally unprepared for, a taste of real winter.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, behavior, camper, cave creek, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, hail, lightning, motorhome, pets, sleeping, sleeping with dogs, storm, thunder, trailer, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, warmth, weather, winter
People who let their dogs lick their faces are no more likely than other dog owners to pick up strains of E. coli bacteria from their dogs. Nor are those who let their dogs sleep with them, a Kansas State University veterinarian reports.
None of which is to say you can’t catch diseases from your dog, or vice versa — as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out on its website.
In the Kansas State study, Kate Stenske, a clinical assistant professor at the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, found that 10 percent of human-dog pairs had the same E. coli strains and that these strains were more resistant to common antibiotics than expected. However, owners had more multiple drug-resistant strains than their dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bacteria, disease, dog, dogs, E. coli, face licks, gastrointestinal, humans, kansas state university, licks, sleeping with dogs, spread, study, transmission