Experts say they reduce stress, teach responsibility and of course they make lasting and loyal friends. But a pet can also sometimes bring scary illnesses, bacteria, or parasites into your household. Ringworm is just one of many parasites that can be contracted from your pet. But there are so many more, especially with some of the smaller animals, the so called "Pocket Pets" and even turtles and birds. Daniel Lawrence, the manager of Pets Plus in Greenville, says there are measures already in place to safeguard your family's health. He says a lot of sanctions and regulations dealing with small animals are now better, making it safer for pet owners. For example, most of the smaller animals are now bred in the United States, alleviating problems with imported animals that could carry diseases. Something you can do to protect yourself is wash your hands after you've handled the pet, keep your pet's cage or bedding materials separate from any food or water source.