CDC Celebrates National Pet Week

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Healthy pets make healthier people!

Pets are an important part of our lives – they bring us joy, companionship, and comfort. Studies also show that pets increase our fitness, decrease feelings of loneliness, and improve overall happiness. However, pets can sometimes carry germs that make us sick. Building everyday healthy pet habits can help keep you, your family, and your pet healthy and happy!

Pick the right pet

A man with his kitten

Pets are a long-term commitment, and different animals have different food, exercise, and veterinary care needs. Do your homework before bringing a new pet home to make sure it’s the right fit for your family, especially if you have children under 5, people older than 65, or people with weakened immune systems in your household.

Adopt healthy pet habits

Practice healthy pet habits to help prevent the spread of germs between you and your pet:

  • Wash hands after touching your pet, their food, supplies, or waste.
  • Remove your pet’s poop from your yard and public places.
  • Take your pet to the vet regularly for check-ups and vaccinations.

Supervise kids around animals

A boy playing ball with a dog in the yard

Kids under 5 are more likely to be bitten or scratched by pets and to get sick from germs that animals can carry. Take these steps to keep kids healthy while interacting with animals:

  • Supervise kids around animals – even trusted pets – to prevent injuries to your kids and the animals.
  • Don’t let kids kiss pets or put their hands in their mouths after handling animals.
  • Teach kids how to interact with animals properly.
  • Make sure kids wash their hands after handling pets, their food, supplies, or waste.

Enjoy wildlife from a distance

As cute as they are, wild animals don’t make good pets. Because wild animals can carry diseases without appearing to be sick, it’s important to enjoy wildlife from a distance.