COMMON HEALTH RISKS POSED BY PETS AND HOW TO MANAGE THEM

Getting your child a pet has many benefits. First, they have a furry companion in pets like cats and dogs which they have to care for and this fosters a sense of responsibility in them.

Second, children who have pets have been shown to be healthier than those without one. Having a pet, particularly a dog, significantly improves a child’s fitness when they walk and play around with it and pets in general helps alleviate symptoms of childhood anxiety since children often develop strong bonds with their pets and pets give them the warmth of companionship in return.

Pet ownership has also been reported to improve children’s immunity and help them ward off common diseases and allergies as well as improving their communication skills.

That said, pets also pose a significant health risk to both adults and children, with children being more vulnerable since their immune systems are not fully developed. Besides, scratching, biting and fur that trigger allergies in children, common pet treatments can harm young children. Some flea and tick treatments contain dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to children.

Health risks and treatment

Worms

This is one of the most common health issues of pet ownership with roundworms being the most prevalent.

Always deworm your kids every three months to deal with worm infections.

Campylobacter

Dogs and cats are carriers of the campylobacter jejuni bacteria which is a highly contagious intestinal tract infection. The symptoms are fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea but the disease is easily treatable with antibiotics.

Cat scratch disease

This is a bacterial infection that manifests itself in swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue and headaches and occurs when a child is bitten or scratched by an infected cat.

Like all bacterial infections, the disease can be treated by antibiotics.

Vector diseases

In addition to making your house uninhabitable, ticks and fleas can also spread infections leading to headaches, fevers, and muscle aches.

Fungal infections

Pet fish and birds are not safe either. In addition to salmonella risk, inhaling a certain type of fungi in the droppings unvaccinated birds and fish can lead to pneumonia and meningitis if left untreated.

The symptoms include dehydration, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Fish tanks may also cause skin irritation among children.

Prevention measures

The preventive measures is to vaccinate your pets against diseases and clean and groom them regularly. Sick pets will make your child sick. If you own a dog, use Dog Shampoo For Allergies to deal with itchy skin which you dog may scratch and the dander may cause infections among your children.

Teach your children on the risks of kissing and sharing their foods with their pets. They can get infections through saliva when they kiss or a licked by their pets. More importantly, never bring a pet home that may trigger your child’s allergies. If your child is allergic to fur, do not bring cats and dogs into your home. Also, never let young children clean the litter box for the family pets.

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