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Tips to keep your pet and environment healthy

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Keeping pets & outdoors clean

The City of Los Angeles' Department of Public Works, in partnership with the Department of Animal Services, has put out a list of tips to help pet owners keep their pets healthy. It's as simple as keeping your environment clean and properly cared for. Although these ideas come from the City of L.A., it doesn't mean they can't be put to good use all over the country.

Woman and her Dog

1. Proper disposal

Your pets can be poisoned if they ingest gas, oil or antifreeze that is stored in open containers or drips onto the pavement. Dispose of these used automotive fluids properly by calling the Household Hazardous Waste Hotline.

2. Pick up after your dog

Always carry something to put your dog's waste in when taking them for a walk. If their waste is left behind, it can wash into gutters and storm drains, thereby carrying dangerous diseases into local bodies of water. Scoop up their poop and flush it down the toilet or put it in the trash.

3. Spay or neuter your pet

There are already more puppies and kittens than there are homes for them, so get your pet spayed or neutered. Visit your vet or city's Department of Animal Services for information on these procedures.

4. Adopt a pet

Spaying and neutering your pet will help. Put a stop to the overabundance of homeless dogs and cats. Therefore adopting an animal will assist this situation as well. Go to your local animal shelter and give a lonely puppy or kitten a good home.

5. Protect your pet

Keep your pet free from disease by vaccinating them. Also put a license tag on them to help ensure they are returned to you if they get lost. Again your city's Department of Animal Services often provides these services.

6. Fresh food and water

Changing your pet's food and water on a regular basis is not only considerate to them, but will also help you avoid pest infestation in your home. Keep your pet's food area clean and throw away old food in their dishes. By doing these things, you will eliminate the attraction of dirty pests, insects and disease.

7. Safe grooming products

It's recommended that you wash your pet in an indoor bathtub or sink using less toxic shampoos or have him/her professionally groomed. Even if shampoos or soaps are biodegradable, they can be toxic to humans. Also, consider using less toxic alternatives such as oral or topical flea control products. If you do use flea control products such as shampoos, sprays or collars, dispose of the unused quantities properly and call the Household Hazardous Waste Hotline for help with this.

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