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Top 10 tips to prevent indoor pets from spreading germs
Top 10 tips to prevent indoor pets from spreading germs

Top 10 tips to prevent indoor pets from spreading germs

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Gross: Our animals bring bacteria inside  

Nearly 70% of US households have a pet, ranging from dogs to reptiles. While pet choice varies, all indoor pets have the potential to spread germs. Let’s face it, our pets eat random things off the ground, roll in questionable substances, use the restroom wherever they feel like it and can host fleas, parasites, ticks, infections and diseases. From their feet to their respiratory fluids, furry, feathered or scaled pets can bring a variety of viruses and bacteria into the home. 


To keep spreading the love between species but ditch spreading the infections, follow these top 10 tips: 

  1. Regular vet visits: Keep pets current on vaccines, deworming and monitoring their overall health to lower the chance they’ll bring germs into the home. 

  2. Handwashing: Whether playing with a dog, feeding a reptile or cleaning a bird’s cage, building the habit of hand washing after interacting with a pet and their care is key to staying healthy, according to the KidsHealth website. 

  3. Avoid kisses: Although puppy kisses may be tempting, it is best to avoid kissing or touching a pet’s mouth as their saliva hosts a variety of germs.  

  4. Wear masks: Specific to bird care, wearing a mask when cleaning the cage can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases unique to birds. 

  5. Pick up waste frequently: Whether the pet does their business inside or out, keeping their waste picked up and their living area clean will help prevent the spread of disease. 

  6. Clean their feet: After going for a walk, use soapy water or animal wipes to clean off all the potential bacteria and fungus they picked up along the way.  

  7. Wash pet bowls daily: A good sanitizing run through the dishwasher or hot, soapy water will help kill the germs breeding in a pet’s food and water bowls. 

  8. Clean toys weekly: From rubber chew toys to a hamster’s wheel, weekly washing will help keep pets and humans alike healthy.  

  9. Vacuum up dander: Hair, fur and dander can get caught in furniture, rugs, curtains … basically all fabrics. A regular vacuum or run through the laundry machine will help prevent the spread of airborne germs.  

  10. Use tick preventatives: Veterinarian-approved tick prevention will help stop pets from bringing the little buggers inside, where they could jump onto a human and increase the risk of Lyme disease, according to the NSF website.  


While pets and people make excellent pairs, practicing pet hygiene measures and common sense is important in keeping those relationships healthy and happy. 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.