02/06/2017 07:26 BST | Updated 02/06/2017 07:26 BST

Why You Should Clean Up After Mucky Pups To Protect Your Family's Health

If you're like me and you have a pet you'll no doubt love them unconditionally. I still remember the day that we brought Dinky, a boxer, home. Within a couple of days I couldn't imagine life without her; she instantly had a wonderfully positive influence on our family, brought a new kind of energy to the home and the children loved her.

However, I also remember catching an awful gastroenteritis bug soon after we got her and she had an "accident" on our sofa. Since then I have become much more alert to safeguarding my family against cross infection and there are certain areas, like upstairs, which are dog free zones!

That's because, although our lovely furry friends may look clean, our pets can bring germs into the home which can have an impact on our health. Infections can be transmitted via a bite, scratch or more commonly though contact with a pet's saliva, dander (dead skin cells) or waste. Your carpets and sofas are areas of the home where these germs are most likely to live as pets spend the most of their time on them. Most pet owners have experienced a pet-related toilet accident on one or both too, and parasites, bacteria and fungal infections can be transmitted through their faecal matter.

Escherichia coli for example is a bacteria found in animal faeces and although severe infections tend to be most frequently seen in cows, sheep, goats and deer, domestic pets may also carry it. If there is let waste on your carpet and your children play on the floor this can be a potential source of infection, something that can be severe in children under five or the elderly.

However, as a pet owner you needn't fear. There are some really quick and easy ways to make sure that whilst your pet is part of the family they don't impact on your health. If your pet has been ill or had a little accident in the home the main thing to ensure is that you give the area a deep clean. Although your carpet or sofa may look clean it doesn't mean that nasty bacteria aren't lurking.

Shockingly, recent research revealed that despite 79% of pet owners being aware of the bacteria pets can bring into the home, one in ten have never washed their sofa covers and a further fifth have never washed their carpets*. To ensure bacteria and germs are removed you need to carry out a deep clean with a specialist product such as one of BISSELL's carpet cleaners which can also be used on upholstery to reduce the risk of you and your family becoming ill.

Remember, it's the stuff you can't see that gives rise to symptoms so looking clean just simply is not enough.

*Survey of 1,500 UK dog and cat owners by BISSELL and GingerComms