How to Stay Healthy around Pets

  • Always wash your hands—and your child’s—after handling or being around animals or their waste, food, or supplies (like cages, water bowls, toys, beds, leashes, etc.). This is especially important before handling baby bottles and pacifiers or holding infants.

  • Choose the right pets for your household. Do some research before getting a new pet.
    • Children under 5 years of age, adults over 65 years of age, and anyone with a weakened immune system should not have contact with rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and poultry.
  • Don’t kiss, snuggle, or hold rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and poultry close to your face. These animals are more likely to spread germs.
  • Always supervise children around pets. Don’t let them kiss their pets, hold pets close to their faces, or allow pets to lick their face or mouth.
  • Keep pets and their supplies out of the kitchen or other areas where you prepare, serve, or eat food.
  • Clean up after animals properly.
    • Scoop cat litter daily (especially if anyone in the home is pregnant) and change it at least twice weekly. Pregnant women should not clean cat litter.
    • Always remove dog waste from private and public spaces.
    • Clean cages, habitats, and supplies outside the home when possible to avoid contaminating surfaces. If that is not possible, then clean them in a laundry sink or bathtub and then disinfect that area immediately afterwards.
  • Avoid rough play with animals to prevent bites and scratches. Teach children to play with animals appropriately. Do not let small children near pets that are eating.
  • Clean bites and scratches immediately with soap and water and seek medical care if the wound is serious or becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; the animal appears sick; or if you don’t know the vaccination status of the animal.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a safe distance to avoid illness and injury