We love our furry friends, so we tend to forget that they can carry some pretty nasty germs and bacteria. In addition to practicing good personal hygiene after you handle your pets and their supplies, it’s important to practice good pet hygiene because they can’t do it for themselves. There are a few hygiene problem areas most pet owners tend to overlook.

Bathroom Duty
The only downside to being a pet owner is cleaning up after them. That being said, it’s imperative to stay on top of it because your pet’s fecal matter is responsible for most of the germs that can be harmful to them, and yourself. Dog and cat feces contain a number of forms of bacteria and parasites like roundworm, E. coli, and Giardia, to name a few. Dog feces should be picked up with a bag and disposed of immediately. Cat feces can especially be dangerous because it contains T.gondii, which causes Toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women shouldn’t clean litter boxes because Toxoplasmosis can be transferred to the fetus, which is extremely dangerous. You can’t expect your pet to have good hygiene if you don’t take the time to keep the area where they go to the washroom clean.

Wash Your Hands
Part of practicing good pet hygiene is being aware that there are certain unavoidable germs. After handling your pets and their toys or grooming supplies, you should wash your hands. No one’s saying you shouldn’t show your pets affection, just practice personal hygiene afterward. Animals love to roll around on the ground and eat things they aren’t supposed to, so it’s not uncommon for them to harbour certain bacteria and germs. Their immune systems have evolved to handle certain forms of bacteria that humans’ immune systems haven’t, so they may not get sick, but you could.

Wash Pet Supplies
It’s important to clean your pet’s toys, bowls, and grooming supplies on a regular basis. Clean hard toys with soap and warm water, just don’t use the kitchen sink because doing so can spread germs around your kitchen. Soft toys can be put in the washing machine, but it is recommended that you only wash them with other pet supplies. Collars are one of the most overlooked items. You should be cleaning your pet’s collar every four to six weeks. Good pet hygiene starts with clean pet supplies.

Practicing good pet hygiene is a great way to protect your furry companion, but the best way to look out for them is with pet insurance from Hudson’s Bay and Petline – Canada’s largest pet insurance company. Pet owners can be reimbursed for up to 80% of veterinary costs, including X-rays, hospitalization, surgery, dental care, and prescriptions. Plus, owners can earn up to 4,000 Hudson’s Bay Rewards points.1

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1) Earn 2,000 Hudson’s Bay Rewards points when you purchase a Basic Care plan, 3,000 Rewards points for an Enhanced Care plan and 4,000 Rewards points for an Enhanced Care Plus plan. Rewards points will be issued in equal increments after every six months when you use a valid Canadian-issued credit card to pay for your premiums and will not be pro-rated. Offer valid in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.