Are Pets Harmful for Kids?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 29, 2011
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Girl with dogPets can prove to be harmful for older children as well as toddlers. It is a good idea to restrict close contact between your child under the age of five and the house pet. Information against possible dangers your pet can pose will help in deciding if you should keep one after all.

 

Injury


All animals are prone to nip, bite and scratch. While some dog species like Beagle and Labrador are friendlier with children others like Rottweiler and Dalmation are likely to be aggressive and unpredictable. Especially, the latter is prone to deafness and becomes agitated when it cannot hear properly. As for cats and kittens little children can provoke them unintentionally to scratch and bite when holding one too tight or pulling the tale. The defensive response in even the best bred animal can be triggered instantly. Exotic pets like hamsters and guinea pigs are more notorious for nips and owing to their size it is very easy to mishandle and provoke them.  

 

Infection


There are innumerable infections your pets can supply. Children are easy victims as they often put their hands in the mouth after handling a pet. Most common diseases include Cat Scratch Fever spread by Bartonella henselae bacteria. Symptoms include fever, headaches and reduced energy. Rabies is also a major concern. It can be carried by both cats and dogs and many exotic species. Birds can carry pneumonia and Parrot Fever which can be acquired from inhaling bacteria from bird cages. Turtles have been known to carry Salmonellosis that can give you severe diarrhoea and blood infections. 

 

Hygiene


The question of hygiene is closely related to infections. Often the root of infections from pets is found to be their faeces and urine. Cats and Dogs are on top of the list as not only favourite pets but also carriers of parasites like ringworm, roundworm and other diarrhoea inducing bacteria. The high ammonia levels in cat’s urine can also aggravate your child’s asthma or introduce a respiratory problem. If your pet is allowed to roam freely around the house and has not been litter trained properly the chances of your child acquiring a serious illness are extremely high. 

 

Allergy


Animal fur has been known to trigger asthma, sinus infections and other allergic responses like itching and rashes. Children become more prone as they are fond of petting and kissing animals. Even if your child does not show any symptoms you should be aware that allergies can develop at random. You should not rule out future problems as your kid grows up. Once an allergy has been established your child faces further risks of infections since his or her immunity levels will go down.

 

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