TAMPA, Fla. – A recent Finnish study found babies who grow up with pets, especially dogs, are less likely to become sick, but doctors and staff at BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospitals urge caution.
“While the results of the study are great news indeed, people need to make sure they maintain proper awareness during interaction between their children and pets,” said Dr. Dee Ann Dugger, a senior clinician in the emergency medicine service at BluePearl in Tampa.
BluePearl suggests the following safety tips:
- Make sure your pet has seen the veterinarian and is current on all of its vaccinations.
- Make sure your pet is on proper parasitic prevention, especially for intestinal worms.
- Don’t let children play with pets known to have aggressive behavior, which can result in injuries such as bites or scratches. Additionally, large breed dogs may inadvertently knock a child over.
- Practice good hygiene; make sure your pet is clean.
- Never let young children play with pets unsupervised.
In addition to these safety tips, people should also be aware pets can carry zoonotic diseases such as hookworms and toxoplasmosis, which are parasites often found in pet feces.
“Of course pets are great and certainly add joy to our lives,” said Dugger. “But making sure to be vigilant and follow these steps will not only keep your child safe, but also keep your fury friend safe as well.”