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Animals and Germs

Certain types of animals are more likely to carry germs than others, so these types of animals are not recommended for children under five years of age: reptiles (turtles, lizards), frogs, live poultry, especially baby chicks.

In general, younger animals are more likely to carry germs than older animals. Some animals may be more likely to spread infection through biting and scratching. For these reasons, the following animals are not recommended in daycare or kindergarten settings:

  • kittens under one year and puppies under six months of age

  • stray and wild animals

  • birthing animals or animals in heat

  • animals known to be dangerous (bears, venomous snakes)

To help keep animals and children healthy animals should: have regular vet check-ups and up-to-date immunizations, be fed store bought canned or dried pet food rather than raw foods, be provided with safe drinking water rather than drinking from toilets, puddles or natural bodies of water, be provided an environment in which they feel safe.

As well, children should be taught to wash their hands before and after feeding and caring for animals. Hands should also be washed after removing shoes that have been in contact with animal living spaces (pens or petting zoos). Children must also be taught to be gentle with animals and avoid chasing them, avoid interacting with animals when they are eating, and avoid kissing animals or being licked by animals.