When you spend time around an animal—whether it's a pet, a farm animal, or a wild animal—there's a chance you can pick up an infection.
An infection you get from an animal is called a zoonosis (say "zoh-uh-NOH-sus"). Some infections can seem mild, but others can be quite serious. So it's a good idea to learn about your risks and how to protect yourself and other people. People who are most in need of protection are children under age 5, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.
If you frequently hike or otherwise enjoy the great outdoors with your pet, please take care to prevent painful encounters with snakes. Bites occur most often in between March and October when snakes are most active. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), a snake bite is always considered an emergency-a venomous snake bite can be fatal if not treated immediately, and even a bite from a nonvenomous snake can be dangerous for your pets.
De-worm pets, especially puppies and kittens. They're a common source of worms. Talk to your veterinarian about what to use and how often.
House train or litter box train your pet. Clean up pet waste often.
Control and remove fleas and ticks. They can carry disease.
Visit your vet when your pet is ill or is acting differently than usual.
Wash and clean
Wash or change your pet's bedding regularly.
Wash your hands thoroughly after you handle any animal, including the fur or meat of dead animals. If you have no soap and water, use a gel hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand wipe containing 60% to 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol.
Change and wash your clothes as soon as you come back home from handling animals at a petting zoo or farm.
Clean up carefully after an animal has vomited or had diarrhea. Wash or replace bedding. Use disinfectant to clean all hard surfaces that have been soiled.
In general, wash your hands before you eat and after you prepare food.
If there's a chance that a cat or mice walk on kitchen counters, clean counters often with a disinfectant.
Carefully clean up all rodent droppings you find indoors. Use rubber gloves and a spray disinfectant. Avoid stirring up and breathing in dust.