Advertisement

How can my family and I avoid getting sick from touching our pets?

To help prevent illness, wash your hands right after touching your pet:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching a pet, their housing, or anything (for example, food or treats) that comes in contact with them or the areas where they live. It is especially important to wash your hands after touching a pet and before preparing, serving, eating, or drinking.
  • Adults should assist young children with hand washing.
  • Running water and soap are best for hand washing. Use hand sanitizers if running water and soap are not available. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as a sink is available.
  • Call your health care provider if you or a family member are concerned about illness and be sure to tell them about the pets and other animals you have contact with.
  • Contact your pet's veterinarian if you are concerned that your pet may be sick.

Many pets, such as dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, and birds, carry germs that can be spread from animals to people. Always wash hands upon leaving areas where animals live (i.e. coops. barns, stalls, etc.) even if you did not touch an animal, after going to the toilet, before eating and drinking, before preparing food or drinks, and after removing soiled clothes or shoes.

It is also important to wash your hands right after handling pet foods and treats, which can be contaminated with bacteria and other germs. Pet food and treats might include dry dog or cat food, dog biscuits, pig ears, beef hooves, and rodents used to feed reptiles.

Continue Learning about Healthy Habits

Improve Your Sleep by Doing This Every Single Day
Improve Your Sleep by Doing This Every Single Day
If you toss and turn at night (68 percent of us struggle with sleep weekly, according to a study by Consumer Reports), the culprit may be your habits ...
Read More
Why should I practice healthy habits if I have a child?
Ms. Ashley Koff, RDMs. Ashley Koff, RD
Many of you don't really start to think about yourself as a "role model" until your children are con...
More Answers
6 Easy Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care Today
6 Easy Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care Today6 Easy Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care Today6 Easy Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care Today6 Easy Ways to Start Practicing Self-Care Today
Start a compliment file, make a “no” list and other simple ways to take care of yourself.
Start Slideshow
What Can I Do to Positively Change My Health Destiny?
What Can I Do to Positively Change My Health Destiny?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.