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The baby and the pet

The baby and the pet

Question:

- We have a small dog and we want a baby too. I heard it's not healthy to raise a child with a puppy in the house, is that true? I mention that the pet is very loved by us, is clean and vaccinated on time.

Answer:



Living with an animal, in the conditions in which the children are living in the home, presents mainly two risks: the risk of aggression and the infectious risk.
Only a moment of inattention is sufficient and, even the most gentle animal, attracted and provoked by the disorderly and sudden movements of the baby or scared by its screams, it can bite or scratch.
Later, when the child begins to walk and begins to show curiosity and desire to explore the surrounding world, he or she will want to touch, scratch, hit, pull on the ears or tail the puppy, who feels bullied may react by attacking the child.
Also, there is a period of several months in the first year of the baby's life, when he explores the surrounding world using his mouth; so he takes in handcuffs and puts everything he finds in his mouth and, if a puppy is in the house, there is a risk of finding animal hair, dog food, etc., which, introduced into the mouth, is a danger of suffocation (choking, drowning) .


Overcoming the danger of these accidents, the presence of the dog in the home is a permanent risk of infection.
Even though the animal is regularly consulted by the veterinarian and vaccinated in time, the animals have numerous microorganisms in the buccal cavity, body and intestine that form the normal flora of their body; these bacteria, viruses or parasites do not cause infection in animals but once transmitted to humans, they can cause infections at various levels in the body, from simple skin lesions, diarrheal diseases, nausea, vomiting and pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia, etc.
Thus, only a few of the infections that can be transmitted by the dog are: rabies, bacterial infections with Capnocytophaga canimorsus and Capnocytophaga cynodegmi, Camphylobacter bacteria that do not cause disease in the host animal but in humans can cause diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections, Brucellosis; parasitic infections: hydatidosis, Leishmaniasis, infections with Ancylostoma brasiliensis, Toxocara canis, Trypanosoma, Pasteurelloza etc.
These risks are more difficult for adults to realize, because the adult throughout life has had contact with many of these microorganisms and has already formed an immunity, which makes them relatively resistant to these infections or develops many times. mild forms, sometimes even apparent in infection.
But the child's immune system is still underdeveloped, especially in newborns and infants, which makes the risk of contracting an infectious disease after contact with animals significantly increased.
These are the risks that result from living together with an animal. Of course, there are also some good parts, the child learning to be more tolerant and to be friendly with animals, not to attack them, to feed them etc.
If you choose to live with an animal then you need to consider some safety measures:
  • the animal must be gentle, friendly and familiar with the children's company
  • make sure it is always clean, vaccinated, healthy (regular visits to the veterinarian)
  • to maintain rigorous hygiene in the home: frequent aspiration of hair on the carpets, beds
  • the animal and the children must have separate rooms; the animal will never sleep in the same room with small children
  • the unsupervised contact of children with the animal (especially in young children) should not be allowed; make sure the animal cannot enter the child's room when the child is sleeping
  • to wash the baby's hands after contact with the animals, to prevent the baby from taking the dirty hands in the eyes or to put them in the mouth after touching the animal; also the other members of the family must have a thorough hygiene
  • to make sure that the dish with food for the animals is not in a place accessible to the child and vice versa: the animal does not have access to the food or dishes (baby bottles, mugs, cutlery) used by the child nor to his clothes or toys (the animal can leave saliva or bristles with various microbes on them)
  • if it is an animal that eliminates its waste in the house (sand box of the cat for example), their cleaning should not be done in the presence of the child; also the pregnant woman will avoid handling animal waste.
    All these measures are aimed at reducing the risks as much as possible, but they cannot completely eliminate them.
    Alina Pop-Began
    - Resident physician - Anesthesia and Intensive Care -
    Specialist details