What can I do to prevent my family from catching diseases from pets?

General good hygiene practice and a little common sense will go far in keeping you, your family, and your pet free of zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can transmit from animals to humans through various ways and channels. All pets, including the common cats and dogs, birds, fish, reptiles, and insects are carriers of various types of zoonotic diseases, from self-limiting cat-scratch fever, to dangerous salmonella, to deadly rabies. Humans can transmit diseases to animals as well in what is called reverse zoonotic diseases. Here are a few basic precautionary practices that we should observe on a daily basis to prevent unnecessary infections:

    • Thoroughly wash front and back of hands with running water and soap before eating and after handling pets.
    • Keep pets vaccinations up to date.
    • Control flea and tick infestation on pet and surrounding
    • Provide your pets with a clean environment and with proper hygiene cares.
    • Keep your pet’s claws trimmed.
    • Avoid rough-housing with your pet.
    • Provide annual checkups and fecal exams for your mammalian pets.
    • Obtain timely veterinary care for unwell pets.
    • Avoid letting your pets lick your face, wounds, or scab.
    • Do not share food, utensils, or plate with your pets.
    • Keep pet indoors if it suits the pet temperament.
    • Seek medical attention for skin-breaking bites or scratches.
    • Feed cooked meat or commercially processed food to meat-eating pets.
    • Wash vegetables or fruits before feeding them to pet or for own consumption.
    • Remove fecal material from litter box every day.
    • Wash cage or litter box with detergent and scalding water regularly. Replace with fresh litter material.
    • Wear gloves when handling raw meat; wash hands, working surface, utensils and cutting board thoroughly afterward.
    • Recommended to consume meat cooked to medium-well-done (80°C or 160°F).
    • Cover children’s sandboxes when not in use.
    • Wear appropriate protective gears (long-sleeved shirt, long pant, bee keeper’s hat, etc) in woodland or bushy area.
    • Apply insect repellents when appropriate.
    • Drink only filtered or boiled surface water.
    • Avoid contact with an unfamiliar animal, whether it is just a stray cat or a wild primate.