Good pet hygiene is crucial, not least because more than 6 out of 10 infectious diseases are zoonotic i.e. they pass from animals to humans.
Good pet hygiene is not just the latest fad for pet parents. It is much more. As a responsible pet parent, you should practice good pet hygiene not just for your pet, but perhaps more importantly, for the safety and wellbeing of everyone who comes in contact with your pet.
And there are good reasons why.
Animals are known to carry and spread stomach bugs like salmonella. Our beloved pets can infect us humans with parasites, fungal infections and other diseases. In fact, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 6 out of 10 infectious diseases are zoonotic i.e. these diseases pass from animals to humans.
In a moment, we will look at how to stay healthy around pets. We will also consider some good pet hygiene tips every responsible pet parent should follow.
But first, how pet hygienic are you?
How Pet Hygienic Are You?
Here’s what I mean by this line of questioning. How often do you wash your pet?
When was the last time you washed and groomed your pet? I ask because water and good pet hygiene go hand in hand.
Brits hardly wash their pets
According to Country Living UK, a survey by Animal Friends found that a third of British dog and cat owners have never washed their pets.
The poll of 2,000 dog and cat owners also found that nearly 1 in 4 pet owners admitted to not washing their pets’ food and water bowls on a regular basis. And, perhaps more worrisome, the research discovered that nearly 18% of pet parents allow their animals to eat food from family plates, with about 32% reportedly finding pet hairs in their meals.
10 Good pet hygiene tips every pet parent should follow
Here’s the reality.
If you practice good and simple hygiene, you will definitely keep zoonotic diseases at bay. The following tips are essential pet-related housekeeping tasks that you should be carrying out religiously on a regular basis. You should do them not just to keep your home smelling and looking great, but perhaps more importantly, to keep your loved ones—both human and furry—safe!
There are at least 10 good pet hygiene tips you should be following as a responsible pet owner.
- Give your pets a regular wash. You should bathe a dog with normal skin once a month with dog shampoo or human baby shampoo. If you’re a cat parent, the National Cat Groomers of America recommends cats get a bath and are blown dry every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Cat parents should clean their cat’s litter box every day.
- You should wash your pet’s bedding regularly.
- Make sure you wash your hands after every contact with your pet.
- Store pet food properly and be sure to clean food bowls and water dishes regularly.
- Be knowledgeable about tick and flea prevention
- Register with a Vet and be diligent about vaccinations.
- Regularly vacuum pet hair from around your house. Pay particular attention to furniture and floors.
- Regularly wash and replace pet toys.
- Be sure to use the right types of cleaners.
How To Stay Healthy Around Pets
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips to stay healthy, while enjoying our pets:
Wash your hands regularly
Cute as they may be, your beloved pets can carry gems. Therefore, to help reduce the risk of getting sick from those germs, it is very important to always wash your hands whenever you play with, feed or clean up after your pet. This is a simple but very important good pet hygiene tip.
Remember to always wash your hands:
- After touching or playing with your pet
- After feeding your pet or handling pet food
- After handling pet habitats or equipment (such as cages, tanks, toys, food and water dishes, etc.)
- After cleaning up after pets
- After leaving areas where animals live (coops, barns, stalls, etc.), even if you did not actually touch an animal
- Before eating and drinking
- Before preparing food or drinks
- After removing soiled clothes or shoes
For best results, use running water and soap for hand washing. However, you can always use a hand sanitizer until running water and soap are available. Children should always be assisted by adults to wash their hands.
More good pet hygiene tips: Five steps to washing your hands the right Way
Check out our fantastic article: The Amazing Benefits of Pets for Human Health.
Keep your pet healthy
Another very good pet hygiene tip is to provide regular, life-long veterinary care for your pet. Although this may be expensive, but your can’t afford not to have regular vet care.
Here’s the stark reality.
Whatever pet you have, providing regular vet care is important for keeping both your family and your pet healthy. Regular veterinary visits are essential to good pet health.
You can (and should) always speak to your pet’s Vet about how to keep your pet healthy.
More tips on how to keep your pet healthy
Here are some good pet hygiene tips to keep your pet healthy:
- Provide your pet with a good diet
- Make sure your pet has fresh water
- Provide your pet with clean bedding
- Ensure your pet has plenty of exercise
- Make sure you keep up with your pet’s vaccinations, deworming, and flea and tick control (where applicable)
Some pets can carry ticks that can spread serious diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease to humans. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fleas can be a risk to both animals and their owners in areas with plague—including some rural areas in the western USA.
The truth of the matter is this. You help to keep yourself and your family healthy, By keeping your pet healthy. So practising good pet hygiene as a pet parent is a win-win situation.
More Ways To Practice Good Pet Hygiene
As we have seen, practicing good pet hygiene can help prevent the spread of germs between pets and humans.
In addition to hand washing, here are some more ways to practise good pet hygiene at home:
- As much as possible, always keep your pets and their supplies out of the kitchen
- Regularly disinfect pet habitats and supplies outside the house with a good disinfectant wherever possible.
- Do not clean your pet supplies in the kitchen sink, in any food preparation areas, or even the bathroom sink. Remember that pets can contaminate surfaces in your home with germs, and you don’t even have to touch pets to become ill from their germs.
- Always remove your dog and cat poop from your yard/garden and public places by using a bag. Always dispose of cat and dog poop in proper areas. Be aware that cat and dog poop can contain parasites and germs that can be harmful to humans.
- Always keep children away from areas that might contain dog or cat poop. This is important to prevent them from getting hookworms and roundworms.
- If you’re a cat parent, then it is advisable to always cover sand boxes so your cat does not use them as a litter box.
- It is advisable to clean your cat’s litter box every day to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful parasites.
- Pregnant women should avoid changing a cat’s litter box.
Teach Children How To Practise Good Pet Hygiene
Pets are generally good for children. Several studies demonstrate that living with pets can have a positive effect on children’s social-emotional development. Children who grow up with pets generally tend to have improved self-esteem, reduced loneliness, and better social competence.
And there’s more. Pets do so much more for children, including teaching them compassion and responsibility.
However, to ensure the safety of the child and the pet, it is important to alway supervise young children (those who are 5 years of age and younger), whenever they are interacting with animals.
We must teach children to wash their hands:
- Immediately after playing with animals
- Wherever touching anything in the animals’ environment (cages, beds, food or water dishes).
Children should be taught not to kiss pets or put their hands in their mouths after touching animals.
And this is not limited to your pets. Adults should supervise and be extra careful when young (children who are 5 years of age or younger) have any form of direct contact with farm and zoo animals.
Practising Good Pet Hygiene – Now Your Turn
Are you a pet parent? Would you say you’re pet hygienic and practice good pet hygiene?
What pet do you have? When was the last time you gave your pet a wash?
Leave a comment and join our conversation.
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