5 Daily Habits That Will Protect Your Puppy from Parvo
Parvo is an extremely contagious and deadly viral disease in dogs, especially young, unvaccinated puppies. It’s known to cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms that can take a sick pup’s life within 48 hours. On top of that, it’s incredibly difficult to treat, and the virus, once it has contaminated your home, is very challenging to completely eradicate. It’s unbelievably hardy and can survive through both hot and freezing temperatures. Very scary, right? It can live up to two months indoors and six months to a year outdoors. Another thing is that, because Parvo is so hard to get rid of, it’s considered to be ubiquitous, meaning it’s basically everywhere!
The best way to protect your puppy from Parvo is to get them vaccinated. However, if you just brought a new puppy home or are still waiting for your fur baby to complete the Parvo shot series, then these 5 daily habits can help you protect them from the disease until they’re fully vaccinated:
1. Wash your hands
Believe it or not, but regular hand washing can save lives—humans and pets. Not everyone may be so keen on the idea of washing their hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day, but doing so is crucial to keeping yourself and your pet from getting sick.
If your puppy is unprotected from Parvo, it’s very important that you wash your hands thoroughly before handling them, their food, or their belongings. Like we mentioned earlier, Parvo is everywhere, so when you go out—especially when you go to high-risk areas, like pet stores, parks, or shelters—there’s a good chance that you’ll unknowingly pick it up.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the right way to wash hands:
Step 1: Wet your hand with clean, running water. Turn off the tap.
Step 2: Apply soap and lather your hands by rubbing your palms together. Scrub the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
Step 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or two “Happy Birthday” songs long.
Step 4: Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water, scrubbing the same areas in Step 2.
Step 5: Air dry your hands or dry them using a clean, dry towel.
2. Wash garments and shoes properly
Aside from your hands, you can also pick up and carry Parvo on your clothes and shoes. Whenever you go outside, refrain from bringing your shoes indoors before cleaning them. You must also change out of your clothes before touching your puppy.
When laundering potentially contaminated clothing, you can simply use regular detergent and set the washing machine’s water temperature to hot. When disinfecting footwear, you can let the bottoms of the shoes sit in a diluted bleach mixture (1 part water, 30 parts bleach) for about 10 to 15 minutes to remove all traces of the virus.
3. Clean and disinfect
Of course, we can’t forget about cleaning and disinfecting the home environment. Aside from disease-causing viruses, like Parvo, harmful bacteria and fungi develop in dirty environments. Cleaning and disinfecting your home and your backyard will prevent pathogens from accumulating and causing your pet, as well as other members of the household, to get sick—especially if you often have guests (human or otherwise) over.
Parvo is resistant to almost all regular cleaners, like Lysol and Mr. Clean, even ones that are normally used in animal care facilities, like Triple Two®, Rocal®, and Parvosol II RTU (they’re effective in killing other disease-causing pathogens, but not Parvo). However, regular household cleaners can be used for daily disinfection, then a diluted bleach mixture once a week for reinforcement.
Since bleach is a corrosive agent, it’s best to only use them on non-porous surfaces and materials, like concrete floors and walls, stainless steel dog bowls, kennels, etc. For a safer and less messy disinfection, we highly recommend using bleach tablets or crystals. Our favorite has to be GuardH Bleach Tablets, since it can also be used on clothing, in addition to solid surfaces and equipment. If you’re interested in checking it out, as well as other great alternatives to liquid bleach, click here.
4. Move playtime indoors
You may be tempted to bring your puppy out for some outdoor fun, but until they complete their vaccine series, it’s not a good idea to do so. However, all pets need daily exercise and playtime sessions to keep them physically healthy and mentally alert. So, while your pup is unprotected, you can move playtime indoors.
Start by investing in dog toys, like ropes, treat balls, and chew toys. We highly recommend checking these ones out, especially the Kong Dog Toy, which lets you put your furry friend’s favorite wet treat—whether it’s peanut butter or a homemade concoction—inside! It’ll keep them busy for hours. If you have extra time on your hands, you can also train them to do tricks. Training your puppy is a great way to keep them stimulated and also makes for a nice bonding moment for the of you.
5. Carry your puppy
As dangerous as it is for vulnerable puppies to go outdoors, there are times when they really need to, like when they need to go to the vet. Animal clinics or hospitals are considered high-risk places because of the number of animals that go in and out of the establishment. That’s why whenever you take your pup to the vet, always carry them, and when sitting down, place them on your lap—never allow them to walk on the floor. Doing so will keep your puppy from picking up Parvo or any other disease-causing pathogen that may be lurking around the area.