You may lavish attention on your pets, seeing that they are well fed and cared for. But don’t let them share your bed, because they couldinfect you.

Jane Heller, veterinarian at the Charles Sturt University, says there is always some chance that bacteria or parasites will move from petsto humans and vice versa.

Heller urged pet owners to practice basichygiene and to make sure pets and humans interact safely, taking care to avoid bites or scratches, during feed times, according to a varsity statement.

“For the average person with a healthy immune system, the risk of getting sick from a pet is low, even if you share a bed with them and are exposed to a bacteria or parasite.

However, the risk increases for people with compromised or reduced immune systems such as the very young, the very old, those with diseases such as HIV, those who are pregnant and those undergoing chemotherapy.”

“While it’s important not to overstate the risk of illness from your four-legged loved ones, with a few easy steps it should be possible to lower it even further,” concludes Heller.

Heller recommends pet owners to wash hands after handling a pet and especially before handling food. Avoid sharing implements for human and animal food preparation, she advised.