As pet owners, we love having our furry companion with us in the house. And while this is a beautiful thing to do because dogs love companionship, we may be exposing our family to some health risks. In this piece, you will learn how to safeguard your family and your pooch from health hazards that may be lurking in your pet’s coat.
Dog bites and scratches
The saliva and claws of a dog harbor bacteria and this makes dog bites and scratches highly infectious. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, over 50,000 American children aged 6 and under suffered a dog bite injury in 2014. Children, especially young children that stand at about the eye level of the dog are more prone to dog bites in the head and neck region, which can lead to severe injuries and expensive medical bills.
Parents must monitor the interactions between their kids and the family dog. Often, dog bites and scratches occur after the dog has been provoked. Children may try to hug the dog or pull his tail, or any other childish pranks that dogs don’t enjoy. In addition to supervising your child’s interactions with your pooch, you as a parent must be able to interpret your dog’s body language, even though it’s not always easy to do.
You may you consider getting a small dog that can grow together with your kids, instead of a fully-grown animal that stares down your children. But whatever dog you have, remember that any dog can bite if boxed into a corner. After all, when you take away the fancy foods and expensive vet visits, a dog is still an animal. The golden rule here is: Never leave your kid unattended with a dog. Not even for one minute.
Pet Water Supply
Would you feed your child pet food? No way! So, it’s also important not to allow your children near your pooch’s water supply, especially toddlers. Most people don’t know this, but a pet’s water supply of only two inches is enough to drown babies and toddlers. Again, never keep your pet’s water supply within reach of your children to avoid infection and accidents. Pet owners need to take note of this.
Dog owners should always keep pet’s food away from their children because dry pet foods may contain salmonella. Children have a weaker immune system, which makes them more vulnerable to salmonella and other types of harmful bacteria. Special care must be taken if you have toddlers and crawling children in the house. Don’t allow them to touch pet food, not to talk of ingesting it.
Dogs and some other pets can share the same type of internal and external zoonotic diseases with their human families. If your pooch has ringworm, your kids can contact the parasite if they walk barefooted on a surface that the dog once did his thing. Ensure your dog is well taken care of to reduce the risk of contracting diseases which could harm your family. Some years back, you will need chemicals to eliminate parasites from your pet. Nowadays, however, topical and oral medications will do. Toxoplasmosis is a disease contracted from pet litter. The disease is caused by a parasite and leads to defects in the fetus. If you are a pregnant pet owner, make sure you are wearing rubber gloves before handling your dog’s litter box. Also, wash your hands properly before touching your mouth or face.
If your dog likes to play outdoors, especially in wooded areas, he may be harboring ticks. Lyme disease is an illness transmitted by certain types of tick, and are extremely difficult to detect or diagnose. Lyme disease can cause chronic health problems such as arthritis, impaired brain function, and an irregular heartbeat. Always check your dog for ticks whenever he comes back from the woods. Then conduct a full-body check on your kids and yourself to make sure no ticks are sucking yours or their blood somewhere.
In case you find a tick on your animal
Disinfect the bite area by rubbing alcohol and then pull off the tick with a set of tweezers with a straight-up movement. If the animal is fidgety, another person may hold him in place. After removing the tick, clean off the area with rubbing alcohol. It is advisable to keep the tick in a jar in case your child or dog become ill in the coming weeks. A doctor can carry out tests on the tick to determine if it is harboring the Lyme disease.
Your pet may be adorable, and submissive, but you must set reasonable expectations for your dog. This is because your pet is still an animal. Pet owners should always supervise their kid’s interaction with dogs to ensure that everybody is happy. Also, teach your children the appropriate behavior towards pets to avoid conflicts that could sour their relationship. Your child must be made to understand that the family dog is a living thing; the dog and his things might look flashy and playful, but they are not toys.