Basic hygiene tips if you live with a dog or a cat

What basic hygiene rules can be helpful if you live with a dog or a cat? What should you watch out for when handling his food bowl or litter box? How often should you wash it? We explain that to you in this article. Living with a dog or a cat can bring many benefits to your health, provided you follow certain basic rules of hygiene and deworming. 

If you have a dog or cat in your home, and you want to enjoy the many physical and emotional benefits of living together between animals and humans , you should also know the importance of following some basic hygiene standards. in your relationship with them.  

Below is a list of the main recommendations for preventing illnesses when living with dogs or cats. 

It should especially be kept in mind that children, the elderly and the immunocompromised are groups at risk, since they are more exposed to any contagion. This is why it is important to strengthen preventive measures in these cases . 

1. Dog or cat hygiene 

DOG : The basic hygiene standard for dogs is to brush them daily (especially longhair dogs) and wash them regularly . 

Brushing removes dead hair, knots, and dirt, and helps maintain proper skin perspiration. 

Washing dogs excessively is harmful because it deteriorates the greasy layer of the coat, so giving them more than one bath per month is not recommended unless this is an exceptional situation. . You should always use a special shampoo for dogs to which you can add a pest control product, especially during the season of risk (spring and summer). In addition, if your dog suffers from any skin problem, strictly follow the washing recommendations given to you by the veterinarian. 

It is also recommended to check and clean the ears at least once a week, with a clean gauze moistened with a specific ear cleaner. 

CAT : Cats spend a good part of their time grooming, baths or cleaning by us are not necessary , unless the animal is particularly dirty. 

Brushing is the basic hygienic measure  to remove dead hair and prevent hairballs from forming in the stomach. Short-haired cats can be brushed weekly, but daily brushing is recommended during shedding. If the cat has long hair, it is best to brush it daily.

2. Food handling and storage 

Some diseases are transmitted through contact with the saliva of our dogs or cats, or through parasites present in their food. To prevent contagion, at Ultima we recommend that you follow these tips:  

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds immediately after handling your dog or cat’s food or treats, touching or washing your food bowl. Take this recommendation into account especially before preparing, serving or consuming food or drink, and also before preparing a bottle. Dry your hands with a clean towel. 
  • Wash your dog or cat’s food and water bowls daily with water and detergent and / or disinfectant . Avoid leaving food scraps there that could rot or develop.  
  • Do not wash your dog or cat’s food and water bowls with your plates, nor use the same sponge or cloth to dry them. 
  • Clean the kitchen surfaces with water and detergents and / or disinfectants and dry them with a clean cloth. 
  • Do not leave his toys on the table where you eat or on the counter where you cook. 
  • Do not feed or pet your dog or cat while eating or cooking. 
  • Store your dog or cat’s food or treats in the original packaging , in a dry place and prevent them from being exposed to high temperatures. 
  • Store your dog’s food or treats in a place that cannot be accessed by children, your dog or cat, or other wildlife. 
  • If you want to store the food in a container , insert the bag directly into it and do not empty the food directly into the container.  

 
Do you want to know interesting data? Here it is: A study on the effectiveness of handwashing as a disease prevention method estimated that such a simple hygiene measure helped reduce the incidence of childhood diarrhea by 39% in high-income countries and 32%. % in low-income countries (Ejemot et al., 2008).
 

3. Cleaning the litter and removing the stool

Dogs and cats can carry parasites, the eggs of which pass outdoors with the stool and are a source of contagion to other animals and / or people. 

The eggs of the parasites are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye, so we should not trust the appearance of the feces and think that our dog or cat is healthy because their “droppings” are normal. ostensibly.  

Here are some hygiene tips for removing feces, whether you have a cat or a dog in your home: 

  • If you have a dog, make sure you always collect their droppings from the street and use a bag for this. Then wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth and face until you have had a chance to wash them. Bags with excrement must be placed in the garbage cans on the street, NOT in the bins reserved for organic waste.  
  • If you have a cat, clean their litter box daily and use gloves to do so. Put their feces in a separate bag and remember to take out those trash cans every day. Use specific cleaning products to wash the litter box, so that they are effective but not toxic to your cat. 
  • Avoid putting your cat’s litter box in the kitchen or near places where you eat and cook.  
  • If you are pregnant and need to clean your cat’s litter box, reinforce the precautions or have someone else do it for you, to avoid the risk of contagion of toxoplasmosis. 
  • Whenever you come into contact with your dog or cat’s stool, remember to wash your hands immediately afterwards with soap, for at least 20 seconds. 

4. Deworming 

The deworming of dogs and cats is extremely important, both for the health of the animal and for that of the people who live with it. 

  • External deworming : Always follow the same external deworming regimens given by the veterinarian to avoid fleas, ticks and mosquito bites that can transmit serious diseases such as leishmaniasis.

For this, pipettes, antiparasitic collars and also tablets administered orally are used. In the case of dogs and cats with access to the outside, it is recommended to make a deworming effort between May and October, the month presenting the most risks. 

  • Internal deworming : always follow the internal deworming recommendations given by the veterinarian, as a treatment to control the most common parasitisms. 

Normally, internal deworming is done through the administration of an oral drug (tablet). The usual regimen, recommended by veterinarians, is as follows:  

  • Every 15 days until the puppy or kitten receives the last vaccine. 
  • Every month until he is six months old. 
  • At the frequency determined by the veterinarian in the area (which may be every 3 months) from the age of six months. 
  • We hope you find this practical guide useful. Remember that animals and people, we can derive many benefits from mutual cohabitation, but we must not forget certain hygiene standards to minimize the risks.

Normally, internal deworming is done through the administration of an oral drug (tablet). The usual regimen, recommended by vets, is:  
Every 15 days until the puppy or kitten receives the last vaccine. 
Every month until he is six months old. 
At the frequency determined by the veterinarian in the area (which may be every 3 months) from the age of six months. 

We hope you find this practical guide useful. Remember that animals and people, we can derive many benefits from mutual cohabitation, but we must not forget certain hygiene standards to minimize the risks.