5 steps to help keep your furry family from germs.
An imaginary stethoscope to a real one
My love for animals developed long before I pursued a career in protecting their health. I grew up with pets and always loved spending time with them, whether that was playing in the yard with them or using an imaginary stethoscope to check on their well-being.
Now, as a veterinarian, I have the unique pleasure of working with animals of all shapes and sizes. And, still a dog and cat owner, I understand how important our furry companions are, and keeping all my family members happy and healthy is my number one priority.
Germs love animals, too
Pets, just like humans, are susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Germs do not judge and they love our furry counterparts as much as they love us! Canine parvovirus, also known as parvo, is one of them. This highly contagious, sometimes fatal viral disease is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhea in dogs under 6 months of age and can also affect adult dogs.
How to prevent the spread of parvovirus
As a veterinary student, I learned that parvo spreads rapidly from dog to dog in confined spaces such as animal shelters, veterinary hospitals or kennels — mainly through their exposure to contaminated feces1. To help prevent the spread of parvo it is critical to clean and disinfect the entire facility when a dog is sick.2 Many shelters across the country rely on Clorox® Regular-Bleach2, because it is a simple and inexpensive way to help prevent the spread of parvo and other viruses. You can also use it at home to help kill germs that might be hiding inside your pet’s favorite areas and accessories or on their favorite toy.
5 steps to keep your pets happy and healthy
As a pet owner and a veterinarian, I use the following steps to help keep my pet happy and healthy:
- Vaccinate — I cannot emphasize enough the importance of vaccinations for your pets. All dogs need to be vaccinated for parvo, distemper, rabies and adenovirus. Cats should be vaccinated for panleukopenia, calicivirus, feline herpes virus type I and rabies. Your veterinarian is the best guide in determining the timing of vaccinations for dogs, cats and other pets.
- Discover — Before fighting germs at home, you must first identify where those germs are living. Your pet’s favorite areas in your home? Their favorite toy hiding under the couch? Make a list of every place and every object your pet has touched or been. Be sure to think like a detective, too. If your canine counterpart enjoys drinking from the porcelain throne, be sure to add that to your list of culprits as well!
- Disinfect — Use Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 to disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces and accessories like crates and toys on a regular basis.3 You can use a solution of ½ cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. To kill parvo, soak the items in the solution for 10 minutes, then rinse and air dry.4
- Be Informed — Germs can survive in the environment for a long time. This is especially true in spaces where pets are constantly coming in and out. Before dropping your beloved at the vet or a kennel, don’t be afraid to ask what measures they are taking to prevent the spread of germs.
- Make It Routine — Getting your pet vaccinated, disinfecting their belongings, and asking their care providers the right questions is just the beginning. It’s important to always keep your pet’s health in check — from basic teeth cleanings that eliminate germs living in their mouth, to monthly heartworm prevention medication, to keep the little hearts we love so much, healthy.
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is especially true when it comes to your pets!
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang’s photo courtesy of Paul Barnett Photo.
1. http://www.aspcapro.org/parvo. Canine Parvovirus requires a 10 min contact time of Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 in order to be effective against this organism.
3. Clorox Master Label