Hygiene and animals

Animals can transmit pathogens such as salmonella, campylobacter, EHEC or hantaviruses as well as parasites. Sometimes the animals themselves do not develop any signs of disease, but can excrete pathogens and infect humans. Therefore, when dealing with animals, basic hygiene rules should always be followed. Adults have an important role model function for children in this respect!

Hygienic handling of animals

Hygiene and animals

© iStock.com / Pugovica88

Even if your animal roommate is like a family member to you – living together with animals requires special hygiene measures to protect against infectious diseases.

– Especially important: Always wash your hands after any contact with animals – after petting as well as after feeding and cleaning the animal's utensils like bowl, stable or cage. – Pets should not be kissed or taken to bed with you. – Do not let the animal lick your face or even open wounds. – You should not pet your pet while food is being prepared. Keep it away from your food. – Dog blanket or cat litter box are not places for children to play or experiment with. – You should clean the food and drinking bowl after use, change the water regularly. – You should regularly clean cages and stalls as well as the litter box with hot water. It is best to wear protective gloves when doing so – but still wash your hands afterwards. – Cat or dog blankets should be washed regularly at a minimum of 60°C. – If an animal bites or scratches, the wound must be treated with an antiseptic agent. Seek medical attention if you have bite wounds. – Adhere to vaccination and deworming recommendations for your pet and have it treated by a veterinarian if it becomes ill. – Not touching strange animals or wild animals that are sick and not taking them home for care. – Animal carcasses should not be touched without protective gloves.

FAQ on hygiene when handling animals

What you should pay attention to in special situations when dealing with animals, read here.

What to do in case of contact with animals, if there is no possibility to wash hands?

When visiting the petting zoo or the animal enclosure, there are always situations where a hand washing facility is not immediately available. Dirt can then be removed with cleaning cloths.

Also, avoid putting unwashed hands on your face – especially your mouth, eyes and nose – or touching food. Also encourage your children to do the same!

After contact with animals, take the next opportunity to wash your hands – at the latest when you get home.

What people with weakened immune systems should watch out for when handling animals?

For people with weakened immune systems, extra care should be taken when coming into contact with pets and livestock. You should stay away from young animals, reptiles, animal pens and bird aviaries. pet cages and litter box should be cleaned by other family members. Ask your doctor for advice on which further measures are advisable in individual cases.

In infants and young children, the immune system is not yet fully developed. They are therefore more susceptible to infection. Reptiles are not suitable as pets for households with infants and young children or people whose immune defenses are weakened due to certain diseases or medications. They can be a source of infection for salmonella, for example.

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