Find out the best ways for your children and pets to cohabit without risking illness.
No matter whether you had pets before your children came along or your kids begged you to finally get a dog, pets are a wonderful addition to any family. While it can be great for children to be around animals, pets still carry germs that cause infection. However, there are some easy steps you can take to make sure your child is protected against your pet’s germs.
Instill pet-friendly habits early
As soon as the pet is around your child, it’s important to start teaching them how to properly handle them. Teach them how to respect the pet’s space, and not to pull or hit the animal. The sooner your little one knows how to play nicely with your pet, the less chance there is of dealing with a germ-infested bite.
Keep dog treats out of reach
A pet’s treats can often look just as yummy to a toddler or child. Couple that with the germs that live in your dog’s food, snacks and bowls, and your child could catch a nasty infection. Therefore, try and keep all bowls and pet food out of reach of your child, or have them wash their hands immediately after handling any of your pet’s food.
Avoid kitchen feedings
It might seem natural to put your pet’s water and food bowls in the kitchen; after all, it’s where you eat! However, some dry pet food can contain salmonella. In fact, a child is more likely to develop an infection if your family pet eats in the kitchen. Therefore, consider moving your pet’s food source to a different location in the house.
Let sleeping dogs lie...in their own bed
While it might just seem like the perfect picture having your little one and their furry companion fall asleep next to each other, most doctors will recommend that your dog have its own bed to sleep, so your child’s bed isn’t contaminated by harmful germs.
Wash hands thoroughly
Children should always wash their hands after playing with their pet. Make sure your child gets in the habit of washing hands often and thoroughly anytime they play with or touch an animal.
Following these tips will help ensure that your child and pet can live together safely and happily. If your child does start to develop symptoms that are indicative of an illness, then it’s time to call our pediatric office for an appointment. If you have any questions about your child’s health as it relates to family pets, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.