8 Things Pet Owners Should Know About Pet Hygiene

Most households in the US own at least one pet, making pet care an essential and relevant topic.

Like us, pets require a hygienic lifestyle to prevent the onset of diseases and lower the risk of illness.

However, maintaining good hygiene can be challenging, especially when you are not aware of their hygiene and sanitation needs.

Keep yourself updated with pet care needs, daily hygiene requirements, vaccines, vet visits, medical emergencies, and everything that will ensure pet's good hygiene.

Being diligent about pet-related hygiene chores is all about keeping yourself updated.

Here are some valuable tips to help you gain insight on pet hygiene and ways to ensure they remain healthy.

8 things that a pet owner should know about hygiene and sanitation

Proper pet care is the basis of responsible pet ownership, and it starts with taking good care of your pet.

Here are a few essential factors every responsible pet owner should understand.

1. Keep Their Food and Water Bowls Clean

Food hygiene is essential for the health and wellbeing of pets.

Making sure your pet’s food bowls are clean will ensure their food is free of germs.

It prevents the build-up of bacteria that would otherwise cause various health issues, including food poisoning.

However, most pet owners do not think it compulsory to clean their bowls each day. 

As a result, bacteria grows on bits of food left in their pet’s bowl, causing harmful bacteria and fungus growth.

It may not only invite pet health issues but also put your life in danger.

NSF recommends washing food and water bowls daily in a dishwasher or with soap and hot water to prevent any potential disease from spreading around your home.

Tips to keep their dishes clean

  • Fill the dishes with hot water and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes to remove stuck-on food.
  • While cleaning your pet's dish with your hands, use regular dish detergent and hot water.
  • Rinse the dishes with hot water and dry them with a clean towel.
  • Alternatively, use a dishwasher.

Avoid using material that cracks under pressure, like plastic and ceramic.
These types of bowls can even trap and shelter bacteria.

Instead, use stainless steel bowls or porcelain that are less likely to crack or break

Plus, do not forget to wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling pet food to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella.

Keeping your pet's food and water bowl clean and free of bacteria ensures a safer space for your pet, you, and your family.

2. Keep Your Pet's Toys Clean

Keeping pet toys clean is something that most pet owners avoid because they assume it is unnecessary.

According to NSF International’s Public Health and Safety Organization-

Pet’s toys like balls, bones, stuffies and everything are the prime breeding group for yeast and mold, and they can even harbor dangerous coliform bacteria, including Staph.

Pets rely on their mouth and paws to handle toys. Chewing the toy will increase the chance of contacting harmful germs and bacteria through the mouth, causing health issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and various skin infections.

Hence, regularly cleaning their toys is essential to prevent the growth of harmful germs and bacteria.

Tips to keep their toys clean

  • Collect all your pet’s toys for a quick wash every few days or a week.
  • Use a pet-safe detergent.
  • Rinse them with clean and hot water and leave them to dry.
  • It is best to air dry toys on a sunny day.

Check this infographic for more information.

3. Clean Your House Often

Hair shedding is a severe problem for many pet owners since it undoubtedly makes your home a mess.

It not only makes your home messy but everyone in your home may get affected by it.

Pets carry pollen, dirt, and germs from outside that pollute the indoor air quality by mixing themselves into the air, causing allergic reactions.

These allergens quickly spread as they circulate in the air and remain on carpets and furniture for months.

Humans will quickly ingest these allergens as small airborne particles through breathing, causing cough, red and itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, etc.

Here are a few ways to control exposure to pet-related allergens

  • Get an automatic vacuum cleaner instead of cleaning the floor often.
  • Feed your pet a healthy diet that contains all the essential nutrients.
  • Groom your pet
  • Keep your pets off the couches and chairs.
    Consider covering your furniture if you are going to let them set on.
  • Limit the amount of dirt tracked into your house by setting up doormats at the door.
  • Ensure to clean up any urine or vomit stains quickly and thoroughly.
  • Take your pet to the vet for a proper diagnosis of hair loss.
  • Deep clean your home periodically.

Keeping your home clean ensures cleanliness and good hygiene for your family members and pets.

If you have caught any signs and symptoms of pet allergy, visit your medical person and seek emergency care.

4. Disinfect After Each Contact

Don’t forget to wash your hands after playing with your pets, feeding them, or cleaning them.

Pets often carry harmful germs and allergens from outside that can quickly spread to humans, spreading zoonotic diseases.

The zoonotic diseases may include rabies, ringworm and external parasites, tularemia, brucellosis, leptospirosis, campylobacterosis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, etc.

Although they may appear healthy, they are still a carrier of germs.

Tips to avoid getting germs and diseases

  • Always wash your hands after playing with your pets, even if you avoid physical contact.
  • Avoid getting bites and scratches from pets.
  • Immediately wash your hand with chemical soap and running water or visit the hospital as soon as possible.
  • Always use preventive gear while showering your pets.

If you notice any sign of illness, contact your medical personnel as soon as possible.

5. Flea and Tick Protection

No matter how well you care for your pet, flea and tick will become unavoidable, especially when they wander outside.

The fleas and ticks are more prevalent in spring and summer. These parasites feed on your pet’s blood and can cause various health issues, including tick-borne severe illnesses.

And the infected pets can spread disease to human counterparts as well.

Treat your pet for flea and tick infestation

  • Wear the gloves, grasp the tick with tweezers and pull straight up.
  • Use flea and tick shampoo to kill the parasites present on your pets.
  • Use flea collars to ward off fleas and ticks, whereas baby pets may need flea collars with a lower dose of chemicals.
  • Consider giving oral tablets to kill adult flea and ticks for a quick fix.
    Check with your vet to see which treatment is best for your pet.

However, routine veterinarian visits should be a primary way to prevent fleas and ticks.

Get in touch with Veterinarians in Urbandale to determine where your pet needs a flea and tick vax.

6. Pet Grooming

Grooming your pet is all about maintaining their physical cleanliness to avoid germs, diseases, fungus growth, and stress caused by tangled hair.

Grooming a pet includes:

  • Brushing their fur every couple of days to remove dust and debris. It prevents tangles, catches dead skin, and hairballs.
  • Some pets enjoy rolling around in the mud, and it is necessary to bathe them more often.
    Use animal-safe bath products specifically made for your pets.
  • Clean the build-up dirt from their ears using ear cleaner.
  • Trim their nails to reduce the risk of nail tears and cracks.

Grooming your pet is something that all pet lovers can do with a bit of hard work and patience.

However, be careful with using sharp, piercing tools like razors, scissors, and nail clippers that may be fatal to their life.

Instead, get the help of a professional pet groomer in Urbandale to groom your pets.

7. Oral Health

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society

80% of dogs and 70% of cats begin to show signs of oral disease by age 3.

Therefore, good oral hygiene is necessary for the pet to lead a longer, healthier life.

Whereas, uncured dental problems pose many health complications in pets like gum disease, leading to other health issues like kidney, stomach, heart, liver, and many other issues.

Try these tips to maintain good oral health in your pets

  • Provide them quality food with essential vitamins and minerals to nourish their body and keep good oral hygiene.
  • Brush their teeth regularly using appropriate pet toothpaste.
  • Giving your pet dental chew toys/treats can do tricks to make dental hygiene easier.
  • Offer your pets vegetables and fruits as their daily snacks.
  • Take your pets to veterinary dental cleaning periodically to remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth and ensure your pet’s oral hygiene is perfect.

Besides, if you notice your pet experiencing tooth decay, gum disease, or bad breath, immediately take them to a pet hospital near you. 

8. Clean their Shelter

Pets keep constantly moving around and out of the house, tracking dirt and germs along with them.  

Coming into contact with pet waste from their shelter can pose several health risks, including potential bacterial infections and parasitic infestation, causing diseases to spread rapidly among pets and humans.

Hence, proper pet waste disposal and ensuring the cleanliness of their shelter is one that responsible pet owners should never forget  

It even can contribute to a healthier and safer environment.

Steps to clean your pet's shelter

  • Remove your pet's bowls, toys, bedding, etc., from the shelter.
  • Ensure all organic debris and fecal materials are physically removed.
  • Clean all the shelter, including the top, bars, walls, etc., with soap and hot water.
  • Thoroughly wipe the shelter and keep it dry.
  • Place the clean or disinfected toys, bedding, and food bowl in their shelter.
  • Before letting your pet inside the shelter, make sure it is organized, clean, and odor-free. 

Effective cleaning procedures should be the primary practice of a responsible pet owner to ensure you, your family, and your pets stay healthy. 


Regular veterinary visits, giving them a good diet, keeping up with pet vaccines, deworming, and flea and tick control are essential to good pet hygiene and sanitation.

Take them to a certified veterinarian twice every year for a wellness check or every four to six weeks if you suspect any disease or illness.

If you suspect your pet has been exhibiting unusual signs, do not delay seeking veterinary help right away.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, for all of your pet care needs.

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