With that in mind, here are three easy (and virtually free) things that you can do in caring for your pets that will help protect the health of the rest of your family.
Serve and Store Food Safely
Everyone needs to know the rules for safe food handling. With 48 million cases of food-borne illness annually, it’s important to start with the proper handling of your own food. But what about your pet’s food?
Outbreaks of Salmonella in pet foods and treats are not uncommon, and that's why the FDA offers guidelines for handling pet food. It’s just common sense: Wash your hands after feeding your pets, and wash pet dishes, can openers and utensils with warm, soapy water.
Pick Up After Your Pet
No one likes to scoop the poop or clean the litterbox. But doing so every day will go a long way toward protecting your family from the transmission of the parasites pets routinely carry.
For pregnant women special cautions apply: Someone else should clean the litterbox to help prevent the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii. If you or your neighbors have outdoor cats put a cover on your child's sandbox.
Keep Your Pets Clean
Good grooming isn't just about appearances. Regular bathing for dogs and a weekly rinse in clean water for cats has been shown to reduce the allergies many people have to pets.
You can easily work these strategies into your pet-care regimen, and the benefits are real. It's worth the time and effort to reduce the small health risk having a pet represents.
Written by Dr. Marty Becker