Tag Archive | "pets and children"

Understanding Pet Allergies In Children

Allergies in children are widespread. In fact, it is one of the most common childhood diseases. Household pets are considered a common source of allergies in children. Here is a guide to help parents become more informed of the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of pet allergies in children.

What causes pet allergies in children?

Pet allergies in children are an immune reaction to the pet’s dander – a gooey substance made up of saliva and very small skin flakes. Toddlers may also be allergic to the animal’s saliva, urine or feces. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, heredity can also make an individual more susceptible to allergies. If one or both the parents of a toddler have allergies, then there is a big probability that the toddler will also be allergic to something.

What are the signs and symptoms?

It is very important for parents of young children who have pets at home to be aware of the potential symptoms of an allergy to a pet. Here are the indicators that a toddler is allergic to an animal:

•    Stuffy nose
•    Itchy, red or watery eyes
•    Sneezing
•    Coughing
•    Wheezing
•    Rashes, hives and the development of a full-blown asthma (for severe cases of pet allergy)

Symptoms of pet allergy may even transpire even when a toddler is not in close proximity with the animal since the allergen can be found all over the indoor environment. Hence, it will take some work to figure out whether it is your pet or something else that is causing the problem.

Diagnosing The Problem

If you are not sure your household pet is causing the problem, you may want to take your little one to an allergist to help identify the source of irritant. An allergist will perform a thorough evaluation of your toddler’s medical record and complete a physical examination. A skin or blood test is also good for assessing your toddler’s level of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies as it relates to particular allergens. Skin testing is better as it delivers quicker and more precise results than blood tests. After 15 to 20 minutes, the allergist searches for bumps or marks like small mosquito bites that show an allergy.

Treating Pet Allergies In Children

Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for pet allergies in children. But, there are some things you can do to minimize the symptoms. Removing the pet from your home is the most common solution. Your allergy doctor may recommend a saline nasal rinse that contains antihistamine if it is a mild respiratory infection. Allergy shots can also be used if the symptoms persist even after getting rid of the pet and taking medications. Allergy shots can help reduce the symptoms and desensitize the immune system.

Preventing Pet Allergies In Children

Minimize Contact

You might have to give your pet up if your toddler is suffering from pet allergy. But if this is not possible, you can keep your pet outdoors. Make sure your pet does not come into your toddler’s bedroom. Another idea is to find a pet that is more allergy-friendly such as a fish, turtle or cats and dogs that shed less frequently to minimize pet dander.

Change Your Toddler’s Clothes

Change your toddler’s clothes after he plays with your pet. Wash his hands immediately. Make sure he takes a bath every night before going to bed so as to keep allergens from tracking into his room.

Install A Filtration System

Install a filtration system around your house to remove the pet allergens circulating in the air. Get one with a MERV rating of 12 in the heater and air-conditioning unit. See to it you change the filter every 3 months to keep the air in your home clean throughout the year. In addition, it is also a good idea to leave the fan on to create a whole-house air filter to remove the particles that may trigger pet allergy.

Clean Your Home Regularly

Another way to prevent pet allergies in children is to clean your house frequently. Invest in a vacuum cleaner with advanced filtration system to remove dander as well as dust mites, molds and other allergens in the air. Dust appliances and furnitures. Remove your carpets as they can trap pet dander and replace them with smooth flooring such as vinyl, linoleum or hardwood.

Pet allergies in children are very common and it can make a toddler’s life difficult. But, with the help of this information, parents now know how to manage them and make life easier for their toddler and the entire family.

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Pets and Children – Simple Pet Chores Any Toddler Can Do

Pets are a great addition to a toddler’s growing up experience. However, the only problem with pets and children is that children do not have the capability to do everything that comes with caring for a pet. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways a toddler can help out. The following are some pet chores any toddler can do.

Food Duty

This is not even considered a chore because toddlers love giving treats to their pets. Ask your toddler to constantly check if there is enough water in your dog’s bowl. Because children believe “more is more”, you might want to supervise your little one at first to prevent your toddler from giving his goldfish an entire bottle of fish food. Have him watch you as you prepare carrots for your rabbit so he knows how much to give. Or, teach him how to measure the pet’s food portion and have him place it in a bowl and feed it to the pet. It is also important that you inform your toddler of the possible dangers that can happen if he gives his pet too much food.

Mess Patrol

Your toddler may need a little prodding with this chore. After all, cleaning up after pets may be the crappiest part of having a pet. But, you can teach your toddler how to scoop out the poop in the pet’s cage, throw the waste and clean or change the bedding. Of course, do not forget to remind him to wash his hands afterwards.

Bathing and Grooming

It is very essential to keep a pet clean and well-groomed especially if they are around toddlers. Ask your little one to help you with bathing and grooming your pet. For instance, your toddler can apply the shampoo while you wash the pet or he can hold the pet during grooming. Once he knows the proper way to bath and groom your pet, he can take over. But do keep a close eye on your toddler and your pet. Toddlers tend to get too excited when doing this task and elicit a not so friendly response from the animal.


Let your toddler come with you when walking the dog. If he is old enough to handle the dog, show him how to hold the leash and have him take a turn. Again, close supervision is necessary.

Playtime Buddy

Pets and children are the best of friends because they love doing the same thing – playing. He can dangle cat toys, teach the dog simple commands like “sit” or “roll” or play fetch with the dog or toss empty toilet paper rolls, a cardboard tube or box into a cage for his guinea pig or gerbil to play in. See to it you emphasize the importance of being gentle when playing with a pet.

Having a pet can give your toddler a sense of responsibility and teach him empathy. However, do bear in mind that the level of responsibility you give to your little one should be fitting to your toddler’s age as well as the temperament of the animal.

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Pets and Children – Why Every Toddler Should Own A Pet

Pets and children have an unexplainable bond. After all, many toddlers call their pets their best friends. If your toddler has been bugging you to buy him a pet, here are some reasons why you should go through with it.

Teaches Values

Having a pet teaches your toddler how to be responsible. Since you will be putting your little one in charge of feeding the pet, taking it out for a walk or helping you clean out the cage, your toddler learns how to be in charge of another life, helping him better understand the value of responsibility.

Another value toddlers learn when taking care of a pet is compassion. Your toddler will learn not to grab a cat’s tail, wrestle or play tug-of-war with your pet dog. He will realize that pets, just like people, need food, shelter and love.

Boosts Social and Physical Skills

Research shows that children with family pets have higher self-esteem. Why? Because having a pet helps a toddler develop skills necessary for forming relationships with other peers. They have a friend to play with and talk to so that when they go outside of their homes, they can communicate more easily with other people. Plus, since pets need regular exercise, your little one will be encouraged to take walks or play outside with the pet which helps strengthen his physical skills.

Helps Toddlers Understand Nature and Living

Having a pet will help your toddler understand the animal world and nature. For example, having a pet fish encourages your little one to discover how this creature eats, lives, how to care for it and so on. Your toddler will not only learn a lot about vertebrates but this will also help him understand the beauty of life.

Good For The Health

According to studies, children who were exposed to animals at an early age are less likely to develop common allergies as compared to children who had no pets at home. Pets can help lower the risk of children getting ear infection, heart disease and other respiratory problems. This is because early exposure to the bacteria alters the way a toddler’s immune system reacts to other allergens.

In addition, pets can also enhance the emotional health of a toddler. They can help lessen depression, relieve emotional stress and help toddler’s transition more smoothly.

Instant Mood Lifter

Pets have a way of making a person happy so whenever your little one is feeling blue (e.g. he had a bad day at school), he will know that he can go to his pet to cheer him up.

Great Source of Entertainment

If your toddler is bored, instead of watching TV or playing video games which are unhealthy for toddlers, your toddler can go outside and have a fun time playing with his pet or teaching his dog a new trick.

Pets are good for everyone, especially toddlers. Having a pet not only helps in the development of your toddler but it can also cheer up the whole household.

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