Dogs, cats, hamsters and turtles all make great pets; we treat them like family, but they can also potentially transmit salmonella and C-diff, both can become harmful intestinal infections.

“There are about 250 diseases that people can catch from animals. Toxoplasmosis, which is a disease that women can get if they are pregnant and affect the embryo, comes from cats and cat stool,” said Veterinarian Robert Hess Jr.

The condition can cause blindness or mental disability in infected newborns later in life. Hess has precautions that people can take to reduce their risk of infections even if you’re not a pet owner.

“When they pet their dogs, don’t let it lick them in the face,” said Hess.

Next, always wash your hands after handling your pet, their food, and their treats. Also, take your pet to the vet for regular checkups and to test for any diseases.

Finally, be sure to tell your vet about your health issues.

People with compromised immune systems may be advised to give away their pets, but some vets may be able to give you further precautions to take so you can be allowed to keep your furry friend.