Pets and Children’s Health

December 14, 2017 08:16 PM

Are you torn between your child’s desire to own a pet and the potential diseases the pet could bring into your house? There is always a concern about owning a pet, especially if you have a child under the age of five. However, there is no need to worry. If you follow the safety precautions, you should be able to have a pet at home which everyone can enjoy.

 

Health Risks Associated with Pets:

  • Allergies:

Furry pets such as cats and dogs can cause allergies due to the pollen and dust that floats around in the air when they move. Some people are more likely to be allergic to cat hair than others. Dust and skin flakes combined with the saliva of an animal can also be a source of allergy.

 

  • Animal Fleas:

Animal fleas are common in furry animals, and it is an inconvenience for them, as they cause them to itch and feel uncomfortable. Animal fleas can be treated easily. Consult a veterinarian for a proper flea treatment for your pet.

 

  • Salmonella:

Salmonella is a harmful bacteria to humans and can manifest in many ways. Salmonella can be found in the feces of animals such as poultry and reptiles. If you have these types of pets at home, make sure to keep your children away from the animal’s feces.

 

  • Worms:

Worms such as tapeworms can be found in cats and dogs as a result of ingesting an intermediate host. It can be dangerous for a child to be around an animal sick with tapeworm, therefore consult with your veterinarian if your pet shows any symptoms.

 

  • Toxocariasis:

Toxocariasis is a disease that can be transmitted from animals such as cats and dogs to humans if they have direct contact with the feces of an infected animal. It is highly recommended to properly get rid of pet waste outdoors, and keep the children away from it.

 

  • Bartonella Infection (cat scratch disease):

Bartonella infection can be caused by a cat scratch or bite, which may happen when a child is playing with the animal. Symptoms include infection and redness in the area, as well as swelling. If your child is infected, sanitize the area, or visit a doctor to treat the infection.

 

  • Rabies:

Rabies is a viral infection caused by the bite of a rabid animal. If not treated immediately with the proper antiviral injection, the disease can cause death.

 

Here are a few precautions to follow in case you are considering buying a pet:

  • Buy the pet from a trusted store.
  • Regularly visit the veterinarian for the pet’s scheduled vaccinations.
  • Consult with the veterinarian on the proper flea control for your pet.
  • Maintain good hygiene around the pet and keep it clean.
  • Separate the pet food from the other food in the kitchen.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly whenever you handle the pet or feed it.
  • Monitor your child around the pet, making sure he never puts his hands in his mouth after touching the animal.

Finally, owning a pet can be very positive for children, as the pet will teach the children responsibility. Owning a pet can also give your child a distraction from such things as video games. Make sure you follow any advice as regards healthier pets and homes.

 

References:

www.kidshealth.org

www.animalplanet.com