Pets and other animals

Take the following precautions when choosing, housing, feeding, and cleaning pets.

Choosing Pets

  • Do not choose reptiles of any type (e.g. turtles, lizards, snakes), birds of the parrot family, ferrets, and any wild or dangerous animals.  Reptiles carry a type of germ as a normal part of their bodies that can cause serious illness for young children.  Parrots also carry illness-causing germs
  • Be certain that no child is allergic to the animals he or she may come in contact with.
  • Select animals that are friendly and have an appropriate temperament to be around children.
  • Make sure animals are healthy and appropriately immunized and licensed.

Housing Pets

  • Do not allow any animals in areas used for preparing, eating, or storing food.
  • If you use cages, use the type that are of an approved type with false bottoms.


  • Be sure children and caregivers always wash their hands after handling or feeding animals.
  • Separate animal food and cleaning supplies from kitchen and food preparation supplies.

Cleaning & Maintenance

  • Clean animal areas frequently.  Don’t use the kitchen or other food preparation areas to clean anything involved with a pet. Wash hands afterward.
  • To protect young children from germs, it’s best not to let them assist with pet cleaning or maintenance.
  • Keep all animal litter boxes out of children’s reach.
  • Remember, handwashing must follow any maintenance task to remove germs and chemicals from the skin.

Teach Children Safe Practices

  • Teach children how to behave with animals:
    • Do not provoke or startle animals
    • Do not remove an animal’s food
    • Do not approach an animal unless the owner says the animal is friendly
    • Do not approach an animal that is not on a leash
    • Do not reach through a fence to touch an animal
    • Do not allow children to abuse animals.