Why an unhealthy pet means an unhealthy family

Veterinarian Dr Julie Summerfield discusses the effects of not keeping your pet healthy.

Being a responsible pet owner means many things. Along with exercise and good food, love and attention, our pets need some regular treatments to ensure they stay disease free. Not only does this benefit their health, but the health of the people they live with.

Our dogs and cats not only transmit disease, but they can also be symptom-free carriers of certain microbes. These potential diseases are referred to as ‘zoonotic’ as they have the ability to cross species to humans.

We need to practice certain protective measures to ensure we don’t become infected from our pets. Bacteria carried in saliva, bodily fluids, fungal spores that may be in the coat of cats and dogs, and worm eggs and fleas on the pet or in the environment can all lead to infection.

The first step is hygiene. Washing our hands with soap after touching an animal, especially before eating, and getting our kids to do the same is really important. Avoiding letting your pet lick your face is also part of this, as our pets have bacteria in their mouths that could make us ill, even when they appear to be well.

Lastly, regular preventative treatments for fleas and worms should be given to your pet. This ensures you are protecting the health and wellbeing of the humans in the household, as well as keeping your furry friends free of nasty parasitic infections.

Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.