Three Pet-Care Strategies That Keep Your Human Family Healthier

Pick Up After Your Pet

I get it: No one likes to scoop the poop or clean the litterbox. But doing so every day — and disposing of the waste properly — will go a long way toward protecting your family from the transmission of the parasites pets routinely carry. For pregnant women, of course, special cautions apply: Someone else should clean the litterbox to help prevent the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause birth defects. The Companion Animal Parasite Council has some guidelines to help.

If you have outdoor cats — or your neighbors do — put a cover on your child's sandbox. That should keep that tempting sand from attracting cats looking for a litterbox. Oh, and again: Wash your hands. There’s just no downside to it!

Keep Your Pets Clean

Good grooming isn't just about appearances. Regular bathing with a specially formulated pet shampoo for dogs and a weekly rinse in clean water for cats has been shown to reduce the allergies many people have to pets. Even if you aren’t allergic to your pets themselves, you may have a reaction to what your four-legged Swiffer picks up on his or her fur. You’ll both feel better if you keep your pets well-groomed. And an added bonus: huggability!

You can easily work these strategies into your pet-care regimen, and the benefits are real. It's worth the time and effort to reduce the small health risk having a pet represents.

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