Down and Dirty Pet Facts
Learn fact from fiction about your dogs and cats
Fact or fiction: Fur is a major cause of dog and cat-related allergies in humans.
Fiction! According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it's mainly the dog and cat dander, not the fur that can cause sneezes and itchy, watery eyes in those who are sensitive. Animal dander is made up of shed skin cells. It's like human dandruff, only the particles are much smaller.
Because the particles are so light and miniscule, they can at times be airborne. Even if you don't currently have a pet at home, dander may still be around you—dander from a former pet may stick around, hiding in curtain folds, upholstery and even on your walls.
To help decrease pet dander, clean your home from top to bottom with a vacuum cleaner. Give the walls a sponge bath. And make sure you're using a high-performance air filter.
Fact or fiction: It's potentially harmful to let cats on your kitchen counter and dining table.
Fact! After each trip to the litter box, cats may pick up bacteria and even parasites on their paws, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Letting your cats walk on food prep areas and eating surfaces (your kitchen counter and dining table) can bring those microscopic creatures in contact with food.
How do you prevent cats from jumping on counters and tabletops? Try leaving some empty aluminum cans on the edges. The cat will knock them off when they jump up, causing a racket as the cans fall. Your cat will be scared away from the counter or table, hopefully for good.
In addition to making your eating surfaces kitty-free zones, always wash your hands after litter-box duty.
Fact or fiction: Bed bugs can be found in pet bedding.
Fact. Even pet bedding can have bed bugs according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In most cases, you won't need to throw out your pet's bedding, or stuffed toys, but here are a few tips if you suspect there are bed bugs:
- Launder your pet's bedding in the hottest temperature settings.
- If the materials (bedding, clothing, etc.) cannot be washed, but can be put in a dryer, put them in the dryer at medium to high heat for 10-20 minutes.
- If the bedding or clothing has tears or holes, consider getting rid of it altogether.
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention