Campylobacter and Pets

Pets, including cats and dogs, can carry Campylobacter bacteria and other germs that can make you sick. That’s why it’s important to think about your and your family’s health when you are buying or caring for a pet.

Before Getting a New Pet

  • Pick the right pet.
    • Do your homework before getting a new pet.
    • Some pets aren’t safe for children younger than 5, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or pregnant women.
  • Choose a pet that is bright, alert, and playful.
    • Pets that appear tired, do not eat, have diarrhea, or struggle to breathe may be ill.
  • Find out how to best care for your new pet, including when to take it to the vet.
Young girl laying on couch with her dog and cat next to her head.

Practice Healthy Habits

  • Always supervise young children around pets.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with running water and soap during these times:
    • After touching pets and other animals
    • After touching your pet’s food or water
    • After cleaning up your pet’s poop, pee, or vomit
    • After touching your pet’s belongings (such as toys and bowls) or habitats (such as beds, cages, tanks, coops, and stalls)
  • Don’t put your hands in or around your mouth after petting or playing with animals. Keep items that have come into contact with animals out of your mouth.
  • Don’t kiss dogs, cats, backyard chickens, rodents and other “pocket pets,” reptiles (such as snakes, lizards, and turtles), amphibians (such as frogs and toads), or other pets and animals.
  • Don’t let animals lick around your mouth and face.
  • Don’t let animals lick an open wound or areas with broken skin.
  • Clean your pet’s belongings and habitats outdoors.
    • If you must clean these items indoors, use a tub or large sink that can be cleaned and disinfected. Avoid using a kitchen sink, if possible.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly and anytime it is sick. By keeping your pet healthy, you help keep yourself and your family healthy.