Proper Hygiene Around Animals

This week’s blog theme is hand washing and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of disease.

Contact with animals has many positive effects for people. We have a puppy. He brings great joy to our family. His floppy ears, waddle, pounce and wagging tail would make anyone smile. I just want to hug him all the time.

My puppy likes to show affection by giving us puppy kisses. Then he’ll lay down with all four paws in the air hoping for a belly rub. He is so cute it is hard not to spoil him with affection.  As a result, I find that I am washing my hands all the time.

When outside, pets will walk through anything. They like to lay on the ground. Everything sticks to their paws & fur. They also clean or groom themselves with their tongues. They may be cute, but if we aren't careful our pets can transmit diseases.

Appropriate hygiene should be practiced at all times after handling animals. To decrease the possibility of contracting a disease, it is essential to wash hands with soap and water after petting, feeding, handling, or having any other contact with animals, their living quarters, or their waste.

When children are playing with animals, parents should discourage:

  • Eating or drinking
  • The use of toys, pacifiers, baby bottles, or spill-proof cups
  • Thumb-sucking and nail-biting
  • Sitting or playing on the ground
  • Feeding the animals, unless the contact is controlled with barriers
  • Any contact with animals if the child has open wounds
  • Contact with any animal waste

Enjoy your pet(s)/animals but remember to practice proper hygiene to stay well. For effective handwashing techniques, check our previous blog.

Wash Your Hands to Stay Well

Many diseases and conditions can be spread as a result of not washing hands. Hands should always be washed:

  • before and after preparing food
  • before and after eating food
  • after using the washroom
  • after changing diapers/cleaning a child that is potty training
  • before and after tending to someone who is sick
  • after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • before rubbing your eyes
  • after handling an animal or its waste
  • after handling garbage
  • before and after treating a cut or wound
  • as soon as you get home from any public place; like school, work, shopping

Hand washing is critical to interrupting the spread of infectious diseases, such as the cold, flu and other gastrointestinal illnesses.  

To be effective, lather your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds then rinse under running water. Twenty seconds is equivalent to singing the ABC song in its entirety once or the Happy Birthday song twice. I challenge you to try this. You may be surprised how long you should be taking to wash your hands for proper hygiene.

If using a public washroom, it is best to use a disposable towel to dry your hands. Use the same towel to close the tap and to open the door that exits the washroom.

Clean hands won’t be for long if handling a cell phone or purse that has germs on it. We set these down everywhere.The remote control is probably the most germ covered item in your home.  Give these items, taps, door knobs, light switches etc a quick clean/wipe on a regular basis. 

Wash your hands often to stay well. When soap and water isn’t available, use a hand sanitize liquid or wipes with at least 60% alcohol content (90% is best).