We may be treating our pets more like people all the time, but we shouldn't forget some basic safety tips for interacting with them, for our protection and theirs.
¢ Always wash your hands after touching pets, food bowls, litter stations and other pet-related equipment, and make sure your children do the same, especially before you eat.
¢ Cats may love to roam, but they're really better off indoors, so they don't eat things they shouldn't, dart into traffic or pick up diseases from feral cats or rodents.
¢ Groom your cat or dog regularly to keep him healthy and reduce the amount of allergens in your home. Frequent brushing can also cut down on fleas and ticks.
¢ Keep litter boxes as clean as possible by using disposable plastic liners. Disinfect boxes occasionally by filling with boiling water and letting it stand five minutes. Also, keep the litter box well away from cooking and eating areas.
¢ Trim your dog's or cat's nails regularly to prevent them scratching you and your furnishings. If someone is scratched, wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible.
This advice is from the World Wide Pet Industry Association. For more information, go to www.petsource.org.