Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seven ways to avoid pet germs

Reduces your chances of getting sick from your pets by taking these simple precautions:

1. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, handing washing is the most important means of preventing the spread of infecion. After a dog walk , wash you hands with hot water and antibacterial soap. Learn how to best wash your hands here.

2. Wear gloves when cleaning the litter box.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that may be carried in cat feces. Humans may become infected with this parasite through incidental ingestion of cat feces, which can happen by touching their hand to their mouth after cleaning the litter box and before washing their hands. However, pregnant or nursing women, and those individuals with compromised immune systems are at increased risk and should avoid cleaning or changing the litter box whenever possible. If these individuals must clean or change the litter box, we strongly advise that they wear gloves and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after completing the chore.

3. Avoid sleeping in bed with your dog or cat.
In fact, a study by Dr. Kate Stenske, a clinical assistant professor at Kansas State's College of Veterinary Medicine, found that dog owners who sleep with their pets or allow them to lick their face are no more likely to be exposed to E. coli from their pet than pet owners who banish their dogs to the floor. But while disease-causing germs are not a big concern, odors and dirt in general are. Moreover, a Mayo Clinic study reports that owners who sleep with their dogs do not have a restful night sleep. Purchase a pet bed to have a healthier night's sleep.

4. You might love your pet, but don't kiss him on the mouth.
Dog mouths are teeming with germs like salmonella, campylobacter, and cryptosporidium. These germs get into a dog's mouth from eating spoiled food from the street or when he uses his tongue as toilet paper. Moreover, a canine kiss carries these germs from pooch to person.

5. Discourage your pet from snuzzling or licking family members face and/or hands.
It is well known that diseases can be shared between dogs and people - about 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic, meaning they are transferable between humans and other animals. Ringworm spores can lurk on a dog's coat or muzzle. Every year, an estimated two million cases are reported of the transmission of ringworm from pets to people. To prevent ringworm, one of the most common infections dogs pass to people, wash up after a session of heavy pettting.

6. Discourage your cat from jumping up and walking on your kitchen counters.
Helicobacter pylori, an organism found in cats, can cause gastric ulcers in humans. It has been suggested that it may be transmitted to humans if a cat walks across a food preparation area which is then not disinfected before food is next prepared on it. Simple hygiene, including keeping cats off of counters, is recommended though it isn't known what percentage of cats carry helicobacter.

7. Stop pets from drinking out the toilet.
Bathrooms and especially toilets are havens for germs, bacteria and viruses to gather. To neutralize the germs, bacteria and viruses, the majority of cleansers we use contain toxic chemicals which can cause a variety of health problems for your pet if ingested. To avoid pet health problems, keep toilet lids down.

Additional strategies for feeding your dog

A recent Ladies Home Journal,article, entitled "The Best Way to Feed Your Dog," discussed the when and the what to feed your dog. Additonally, the article mentioned dog allergies, sneaking your pet food, bad breathe homemade diets. After reading this article, I was very disappointed that the author failed to mentioned how to read a dog food label and what are the best food dog food bowls.

To learn about pet food, check out the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration website. There is section about reading dog food labels here.

To find the best bowl for yo and your pet, consider the below listed factors.

Plastic dog bowls are relatively inexpensive, generally dishwasher-safe and unbreakable. They also come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Although convenient, plastic bowls can be chewed and/or scratched by your dog, leaving hiding places for bacteria. Moreover, some dogs can develop an allergic reaction which looks like dirt spot or smear on the chin or face from the plastic.

Ceramic bowls can be mass produced or found in an artisan shop or website. Today, they are most created to enhance your kitchen decor. As a cautionary note, check ceramic bowls on a regular basis for chipping and cracking. Whereas bacteria can easily become lodged in the grooves and contaminate a pet’s meal, a chipped or cracked feeding bowl can also be a cutting hazard to a dog’s face.

Stainless steel dog bowls are durable, dishwasher-safe and be purchased for as little ast $1.99 at kitchen supply stores.

Specifically, for a puppy, choose an appropriate bowl for her size. For an adult or senior dog, use larger, raised bowls so she does not have to bend and stretch her neck. And for a dog with a flat face, such as a Boston Terrier, Lhaso Apso, Pekingese, Pug, or Shih Tzuh, choose a shallow bowl, so that if she is eating wet food, she does not put her whole head in the bowl and stain her fur. For a dog with long ears, like a Springer Spaniel or Beagle, use a deep, narrow bowl to prevent dirty and food-stained ears.

Moreover, all bowls should have skid-proof bottoms or should be heavy enough that dogs cannot move them while eating or drinking.

The adventures of Carlos continue

Better late than never! I just received the new book of author Maureen Sullivan and illustrator Alison Joseph in the mail. In three beautiful illustrated books for children of all ages, the dynamic duo describe the adventures of French Bulldog, Carlos-the granddog of Sullivan. The best part is that diehard New Yorkers, Sullivan and Joseph use the Big Apple for all of Carlos's adventures. As a special treat, I am going to read it with my four English Toy Spaniels before going to bed.

Make a Cat(nip) and Mouse Fishing Pole Toy

Make a handmade toy that's purrrfect for your feline friends. This recipe, featured in Chicago's Ready Made magazine, was crafted by cat owner, Connie Crawley. If you feel the instructions are too time consuming, purchase Connie's best stilling mice at her Etsy store.