(HealthDay News) -- Having a four-legged friend around the house could make us happier, healthier and help us live longer.
Research shows having a pet can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. A cat, dog or other pet can also combat feelings of loneliness and depression.
But Fido and Fluffy also harbor germs that could make us sick, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The agency recommends washing your hands well:
- After touching or playing with your pet.
- After feeding your pet or handling pet food.
- After handling pet equipment, such as cages, tanks or toys.
- After cleaning up from your pet.
- After leaving areas where animals live (coops, barns, stalls, etc.), even if you did not touch an animal.
- Before eating or preparing food or drink.
- After removing soiled clothes or shoes.