We are certainly hearing a lot of scary terms these days about things that are potentially dangerous to our health, and the health of our family and pets. Since we are all on alert to avoid bringing illness into our homes or transferring sickness between each other, it is important to understand the difference between germs, bacteria and viruses, and how to best reduce our risk.
Germs – This is really a catch-all term that covers anything that could cause illness in humans or pets. It can refer to bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic particles.
Bacteria – Bacteria are a wide range of varieties of microscopic, single-celled organisms. While most bacteria are actually “good”, as in probiotics, there are some pathogenic “bad” bacteria that can cause illness and disease.
Viruses – These are the small but mighty invaders. Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and are parasitic which means they require living cells or tissue in which to grow. Viruses can invade the cells of the body to grow and multiply.
Our pets, especially dogs, can transmit several bacterial diseases and viruses (known as zoonotic infections) to humans via their saliva or by contaminated urine or feces that has had direct contact with the dog’s skin, paws and fur.
And vice versa, there are some viruses we can pass along to our pets. There have been cases of certain strains of influenza and mumps reported in animals that have been transferred to them from humans.
Is washing enough protection?
The best first defense against transmitting germs is cleaning with soap and water regularly. Cleaning removes germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning household surfaces, ourselves and our pets lowers the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfectants or antiseptics take it a step further. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. By disinfecting a surface after cleaning, the risk of spreading infection is even lower. Antiseptics are applied to the body to kill microorganisms and are most commonly used in medical facilities.
While there are a myriad of hand sanitizers and antiseptics available for humans, there is now an option for use on pets to help reduce the risk of our furry family members transferring germs, bacteria or virus into our homes. SaniPet™ from Absorbine Pet™ is a pet safe sanitizing antiseptic spray that kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria on dog’s skin, coat and paws within 60 seconds. It is perfect for use on any dog that has been out in public, in contact with other animals or humans, like at dog parks, with dog walkers, groomers or Vets. Simply spray it on, and either towel dry or let air dry before letting the dog back into the house. It can also be brushed or wiped on by thoroughly applying spray to brush or cloth.
Keeping a safe distance between people and animals and being diligent about cleanliness and sanitization are our most important steps we can take in protecting ourselves from any unwanted germs of any kind.
Journal of Medicine and Life, 2015, Review of Bacterial and viral zoonotic infections transmitted by dogs.
Healthline, A Guide to Antiseptics
WebMD, How do Viruses differ from Bacteria
About The Author:
Marjorie Murray has been around animals every day of her life, and is currently dog mom to Layla, a rescue hound mixed with a whole lot of personality. Marjorie has worked for W.F.Young Inc for four years where she spends her days happily immersed in all things pet. When not at work or on another long walk with Layla, she enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors, hiking, biking, gardening or reading, or in the kitchen baking comfort foods.