New studies are finding that sleeping with your dogs and cats might not be such a good idea.

Dogs can carry a variety of germs that can make people sick. For example, puppies may pass the bacterium in their feces (stool). This germ can cause diarrhea in people. Puppies and some adult dogs often carry a variety of parasites that can cause rashes or illness in people.  Dogs can also carry rabies, a deadly viral disease. Rabies from dogs is rare in the United States.

Some people are more likely than others to get diseases from dogs. People who are more likely to get diseases from dogs include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS, and people being treated for cancer.

To lower your risk of infection, pet owners should keep animals out of the sleeping environment, wash their hands (or any other area of contact) thoroughly after handling or being licked by pets, and take extra care with puppies, kittens and older pets that have diarrhea — often considered "high risk" carriers.