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Are you putting your family’s health at risk?

Floor cleaning

There’s no denying that we’re a nation of animal lovers with around 16.5 million dogs and cats being kept as pets in the UK1. So, it comes as no surprise that less than half of our furry friends actually sleep in their own beds, with women being the most likely to invite their dog or cat to snuggle down with them2.

However, did you know that by allowing your pet to sleep in your bed and lounge on your sofa – where little accidents can happen – and not cleaning up after them properly, you could be exposing yourself and your family to harmful bacteria and parasites that can leave you with more than just an upset tummy?

Embarrassing Bodies’ Dr Pixie McKenna tells us, “Although not all germs carried by household pets can impact humans there are a number that do. These can be transmitted through a bite, scratch or more commonly though contact with a pet’s saliva, dead skin cells or waste. For instance, bacterial infections like Campylobacter can be spread through animal faeces and can cause stomach pain and upset, Toxoplasmosis a parasitic infection that is often hosted in cat litter can cause symptoms from fevers to a sore throat and rash, and the fungal skin infection, ringworm, can manifest as a red, ring shaped rash.”

In addition to sharing the bed with their pet parent, UK cats and dogs favour the sofa, their own bed or the living room carpet as their top spots to relax during the day. But what is most shocking is that ignorance is bliss for the majority; We’ve revealed that as despite 79% of pet owners being aware of the bacteria pets can bring into the home, almost half have never washed their mattress, one in ten have never washed their sofa covers, and a further fifth have never washed their carpets.

But why does it matter, if they look clean?

Although common messes for pet owners to clear up include fur, muddy footprints and spilt food and drink, a quarter of Brits revealed they are regularly greeted with urine, vomit and faeces.

Dr Pixie McKenna adds, “Pets make a great addition to the home however, we need to make sure that we clean up properly after them to keep our family safe. Dogs and cats enjoy the outdoors and during their little adventures, they can pick up dirt and germs which they then transfer indoors on their paws.”

“Carpets are an area of the home where germs can lurk especially if pets tend to toilet on them as cats and dogs can transmit parasites, bacteria and fungal infections in their faecal matter. Escherichia coli for example is a bacteria found in animal faeces. Whilst severe infections tend to be most frequently seen in cows, sheep, goats and deer, domestic pets can also carry it. If your pet contaminates your carpet and your children are playing on the floor this can be a potential source of infection, something that can be very severe in children under 5 or the elderly. So cleaning up after your pet is about far more than odour and appearance, it needs to be thorough to reduce potential ill health.”

So what can you do to help keep your family safe whilst enjoying time with your furry friends?

Although 13% of men admitted to moving furniture to cover up a pet stain there is a much simpler and hygienic way of ensuring soft furnishings, carpets, and rugs are free from fur, excess dust and nasty bacteria for the whole family to enjoy.

Our range of vacuums and carpet cleaners offer powerful solutions for keeping homes clean and families happy and healthy by removing small or large, smelly or unsightly, wet or dry pet stains and messes. So, whether you need to clean up pet hair, a little accident or spilt food and drink, BISSELL has the answers.

1PFMA Pet Population Report 2017
2Survey of 1,500 UK dog and cat owners by GingerComms

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