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  • Having a Pet in Your Home May Be One of Your Best Parenting Decisions

    A study shows a link how a pet at home can be helpful to your child's health.
    by Kate Borbon .
Having a Pet in Your Home May Be One of Your Best Parenting Decisions
PHOTO BY Pixabay
  • There is no doubt that pets can add a different kind of joy to any home. They are not just companions and playmates, but they can help the whole family relax during stressful times. In fact, children may benefit the most when it comes to having pets.

    Having pets can improve babies’ health

    A 2017 study from the University of Alberta in Canada found that babies exposed to animals within their first few months of life were less likely to develop allergies or become obese. This is because the microbial composition of babies’ stomach and intestines, also known as their gut microbiome, is influenced by the presence of pets inside the home.

    There are plenty of different bacteria living in the human stomach and intestines, including oscillospira, which is associated with leanness, and ruminococcus, which is associated with a lower risk of allergic disease. According to the study, dogs and cats carry these healthy bacteria in their bodies, which can be transferred to children by exposing them to these animals. The study's results suggest that babies with pets at home showed stronger immune systems and less allergies as well as a reduced risk of metabolic and atopic disease.

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    The team of researchers behind the study looked into 746 babies from Canada. The mothers of these babies were asked to report on whether they owned pets while they were pregnant and three months after giving birth. They then gathered stool samples from the babies and examined them for gut microbiota.

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    Benefits of pets for kids

    There are many different ways kids can benefit from taking care of pets. These furry friends can be your child’s first best friend, his constant playmate and companion in different kinds of activities from walking around the neighborhood to just lounging around the house. Pets also teach kids responsbility and empathy. Your child is learning how to care for others when she has a pet.

    Parents writes having a pet at home can help kids in learning, especially for those who may be developmentally-challenged. For instance, one study found that kids’ stress levels were lower when they were asked to read in front of a dog, compared to when they were asked to read in front of an adult or another child. The calming presence of a pet, one your child considers, a treasured may help reassure him that he is not being judged.

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    What to think about if you’re planning on getting a pet

    If you’re considering getting a pet (if you don’t already have one), there are some guidelines to remember, including making sure that both you child and your pet are immunized and that your child is never left alone with the pet.

    Get your child vaccinated

    The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) recommends families pets at home to receive the rabies vaccine instead of waiting before any member gets bitten. Children are especially at risk, since they are more likely to get bitten due to their natural tendency to run and move around. According to the PPS, multiple doses of the vaccine are necessary. Even scratches from an animal’s paw can transmit rabies, so make sure to take all the essential safety measures before welcoming a pet into your home.

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    Make sure your pet is vaccinated

    Pets also need to be vaccinated, so don’t forget to talk to a veterinarian you trust to find their recommendations when to schedule your pet’s vaccines. These will help your furry friend stay healthy and have a long life. A good vet will have a vaccination schedule card for you!

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    Keep pets groomed and trained

    Grooming is important not only because it helps keep your pet looking clean and pretty, but it can also be a way to prevent potential health complications such as infections. Similarly, it’s also essential to train pets so they can enjoy interaction with their human families and avoid potential problems with their behavior.

    Never leave your child alone with the pet

    Aside from the fact that babies and young kids really should not be left unsupervised as much as possible, leaving them alone with a pet can lead to accidents like bites. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that bites usually happen when kids play rough with their pets because they are not yet aware of what can happen when animals get too excited.

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