When it comes to your health, 2021 is the year to focus on your health and if you have a pet in your home it's important to know that pets can carry diseases that can make you and others sick. Then again, if you're mindful of the basic principles of staying clean and the importance of preventive pet care, these are really easy to do. Without further ado, here are 8 basic, simple things to stay healthy around pets.
1. Always wash your hands. Don't forget your child's hands, too! Our hands are magnets for dirt and germs. If you're handling an animal, their waste, food or supplies (think cages, bowls, toys, beds, collars, leashes, etc.) they can have a number of different microorganisms in them. Lets face it, do you even remember the last time their cages and bowls were cleaned? How about their toys? Just imagine how many times their toys have been on the ground, stepped on and hidden in places you don't even know you have.
Pet collars and leashes are perhaps high in the list of items that ever gets any care and attention. Some pet collars and leashes can last a lifetime. High-quality made collars and leashes are great when you want something that can protect and keep your pet safe. But, have you ever thought about cleaning the dirt off the nylon or leather wrap every few days? How about every month or so of wiping down with some gentle soap and water? It's only after it's touched the mud or pooped on, pet collars and leashes hardly ever gets cleaned.
2. Don't kiss, snuggle or hold. However, there are a few exceptions like your dog or cat. Besides, what's the point of getting a dog or cat when you can't snuggle or hold them? Yes, there are some exceptions but generally (and some of you may not like it) animals like rodents, reptiles, amphibians and chickens are likely to spread germs.
3. Supervise your children when around pets, Always! Children enjoy their time so much when they play around pets that sharing becomes more personal for them. A hug, kiss or lick is almost certain to happen and it likely ends up on their faces or mouth. Gross? You bet.
4. Keep your kitchen or food away from your pets. Most of you like your food the way you prepared to eat it - cleaned and cooked. If you have pets like caged rodents for example sitting on countertops, their wood shavings and dander can reach your food on short notice. Although enclosed in glass cages, pet reptiles and amphibians can splatter dirty water or fluid that could end up in the food you're preparing. Caged pets are good to look at when you're bored making your delicious meal, but they're best kept away from the kitchen or dinner table if you want a safe and healthy family dinner.
5. Clean up after your pet, Properly! No, don't leave it and hope that in a matter of time that it will decompose. It eventually does.. that is, in a year or two. But what you end up while you wait is the stench and harmful microorganism that are floating in the air in your house or outdoors.
If you own a cat, the general rule says that you should scoop the cat's litter daily and changing it at least twice daily. Pregnant women should not clean cat litter, no exceptions.
For dog owners, always remove your dog's waste from your home, backyard and even public spaces. The sight of dog poo especially if you ever stepped on one doesn't make anyone happy :-(
For pet cages, habitats and other supplies, clean them outdoors if at all possible. If you live in the Northern climates or have limited outdoor space like an apartment, clean them in a laundry sink or bathtub but remember to disinfect all the surfaces after.
6. No rough playing with animals. Children are especially vulnerable and it's not because they're small, gentle human beings, they just play really hard when they get excited. Pets get excited too and when both things occur at the same time, you're likely looking at an accident like bites and scratches waiting to happen. Teach children how to play with animals appropriately. And, don't let children especially the little ones go near pets that are eating.
7. Don't wait, Clean bites and scratches. The most dreaded thing like bite marks, scratches, etc that we always wanted to avoid has happened. First of, immediately clean the wound with soap and water and always seek medical care if the wound looks serious or infected or the animal appears sick or don't know the vaccination status of the animal.
8. Treat wildlife like they belong in the Wild. There's a reason why they're called wildlife because they're neither tamed nor require help to live or feed from their human counterparts. Wildlife can be aggressive animals and carry a number of diseases that can be transmitted and cause illness and injury. Stay safe by keeping a considerable distance. These animals enjoy being away from others as much as you enjoy watching them from far away.