How to Clean Up After Pets to Avoid Health Hazards - dummies

How to Clean Up After Pets to Avoid Health Hazards

By Gill Chilton

There are multiple ways to clean up after your pet to avoid possible health issues. Animals carry diseases that they can pass onto you through saliva, as dogs lick your hands and cats, rabbits, hamsters, and reptiles give a quick bite.

Bacteria and viruses can also be spread through direct or indirect contact with your pet’s excrement, or that from other animals that may have found its way onto your dog’s paw. Snakes can spread salmonella. The dead skin, or dander, that cats shed contains airborne particles that can produce an allergic reaction in susceptible people.

Each type of pet has its own catalogue of animal-to-human health risks, and it’s common sense to find these out from your vet as you start to keep a new pet. But an awareness of potential risks shouldn’t stop you from keeping a pet.

More than 6 million cats and 5 million dogs live happily within homes in the United Kingdom, and the vast majority give their owners no health concerns. However, if you keep a pet, good health and hygiene practice says you should:

  • Keep pets away from areas where you sleep, eat, and prepare food.

  • Wash your hands after touching your pet.

  • Take an animal that appears sick to the vet promptly. Regularly worm and protect your pets from fleas.

Dog mess on the pavement and grass can occur on any roadway. Children can step into this and cause health problems, so you can carry plastic bags and a pack of large-size wet cloth wipes in the car, ready for a fast clean up. Baby-wipes are ideal. Use wipes to lift up as much matter as you can, then seal in a bag and bin.

If the accident happens on the homeward journey or you have spare shoes, put the dirty shoe into the other plastic bag, to finish later. Wash the sole under the hot tap, using a scrub brush. Spray with antibacterial spray and air-dry.