Sharing with your dog is wonderful. Unless you’re sharing bacteria. Pets can harbor harmful germs to pass on to you.
Staphylococcus bacteria is a common cause for skin infections in people and animals. A virulent strain of staph, called MRSA, has made headlines for school outbreaks and fatal infections. MRSA infections are usually blamed on dirty locker rooms and contaminated gym clothes, but the source for an infection might be in your lap right now.
Here are 5 ways to avoid catching an infection from your pet:
- Your pet’s mouth is not clean. It’s teeming with bacteria. Don’t let your pet lick your wounds. A dialysis patient once contracted a life-threatening pasturella bacteria infection from his beautiful golden retriever this way.
- Keep open wounds covered. Contact between your wound and your pet could spread bacteria such as MRSA.
- Puncture wounds on your hands from a dog or cat bite can lead to a deep infection that tracks along ligaments and nerves. See a physician for any significant animal bite, even if it was inadvertent.
- Wash your hands before and after handling your pets. This is for their health as well — you can pass your bacteria to them!
- If you see a non-healing wound or infection on your cat or dog, then take him to your vet right away. Treating your pet now could save you a trip to your physician later.
Photo: Nexus 6