Pets help to de-stress us from the regular rambles of daily lives, be loved like no other, spread happiness and also be a rewarding pastime. I also understand that pets are family, some living with us from the day they were born till their last days on this earth. Yet, it is important to understand that there is a decorum that needs to be maintained whilst handling them, especially if the pets are accompanied by children at home.
I have been to homes where in spite of having a pet, the home hardly looks or smells or feels like they have a pet. Utmost care is taken to ensure that while the kids do get to play with them and have fun, but the pets are cordoned off in a separate area, away from the kitchen and dining areas. They are well trained to not enter the kitchen, their utensils are kept separate and their toys and chews cleaned regularly. I have also seen equally contrasting homes where the pet is sitting on the kids, the kids are sitting on the pets, their toys are interchanged and you cannot decipher who chews what. Petting comes so naturally to these homes, that they do not really care about sanitizing their hands and the pet is always hovering around wherever there is food. The home stinks and there is pet hair everywhere. The home feels moist and they are hardly ever taken out to perform their bio-tasks. The kids mingle freely with their hands moving seamlessly from the pet’s body to their mouths …ack!!!
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Handling and playing with pets can sometimes increase the risk of diseases such as ringworm, lyme diseases, food poisoning and toxoplasmosis (in the case of cats). They spread through contact with animal feces and especially so from infected pets. Diarrhea, fever, nausea etc. are some of the ways that one may be affected through having infected pets around. Toxoplasmosis spreads by cats and can cause impaired vision or even brain damage. Diseases such as Rabies, Campylobacter, Cat Scratch Diseases are likely to be transmitted to human beings if proper hygiene is not maintained.
Of course there are studies to show that children who grow up in environments with pets, are less likely to fall ill as compared to kids from homes without pets. Pets keep allergies at bay, so say some research in the journal of Pediatrics. Yet, there are also earlier studies to indicate that kids who are naturally prone to respiratory diseases can be creating a trigger by getting a pet in their surroundings.
How to stay clean with pets around:
Children need to be taught to be hygienic around pets, washing hands regularly around them. You have to ensure that the pets are kept away from the kitchen surfaces so that you can keep germs and diseases at bay. Trays and tanks with fish need to be washed and cleaned regularly. You may also encourage use of gloves while handling pets, their poop and giving them a bath etc. Do not share food with pets. See the veterinarian regularly and please get your home sanitized as often as you can to ensure your children are kept healthy as well as your pets.
Madhavi Mukherjee is an amused mother who still thinks and believes that while she sleeps at night, three year old tot is being trained by someone to learn new words, do new stuff, and to express better each day. She has been a practicing communications professional for over a decade. Madhavi is an aspiring singer, craft teacher, seamstress, painter and writer. Madhavi is getting used to her new designation as a Stay-At-Home-Mum and is enjoying every bit of the way. You can read more of Madhavi on kaarukriti.wordpress.com and ourmoina.wordpress.com