Pet health is connected to human health

This week is National Pet Week, and we know how much you love your pets. Pets can provide us with companionship, unconditional love, and many physical and emotional benefit, like lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and physical activity. This week, celebrate your pets and the many ways they improve your life, and learn how to keep yourself and your pets healthy and happy.

Your Pet Might Not Look Like You, But…

Man With a Mohican Next to a Cockatoo

…some germs can’t tell the difference. Many germs can infect both people and animals. Everyday activities involved in caring for your pet can spread germs, like handling pet food and toys, cleaning cages, and even kissing your pet. Washing your hands often is the best way to protect yourself.

How do germs spread between pets and people?

  • Touching a pet, their food or treats, or items in its environment (like toys or habitats)
  • Bites and scratches
  • Touching or consuming contaminated food or water

Healthy Pets Make Healthy People

Healthy Pets Make Healthier People banner

Pets sometimes carry germs that can make us sick. Keeping your pets healthy helps to keep you healthy too.

How to keep your pet (and you) healthy:

  • Make sure your pet gets a good diet, fresh water, shelter, and exercise.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly and make sure it gets routine vaccinations and flea, tick, and parasite prevention. Every pet should get life-long veterinary care.
  • Wash your hands after touching your pet or its poop, toys, food, or other supplies.
  • Keep your pet away from people food and areas where food and drinks are prepared, served, or consumed.
  • Don’t let your pet lick around your mouth or open wounds.
  • Supervise kids around pets.

Some Pets Are More Likely to Carry Germs

Reptiles, amphibians, and rodents are more likely to carry Salmonella and other germs. Even animals that look clean and healthy can carry harmful germs. Children younger than 5 years old, adults 65 and older, pregnant people, and people with weakened immune systems should take extra precautions around these animals.