Thursday, 3 November 2011

Children and Pets

Children, of course, want pets they can hold and play with. Children, who has pets can easily learn responsibility, compassion, and empathy. Pets are never critical and don’t give orders. Pets are always loving and their mere presence at home can help provide a sense of security in children. Having an ever-present dog or cat, for example, can help ease separation anxiety in children when mom and dad aren't around. Studies shown that pets can help calm hyperactive or overly aggressive kids. Of course, both the pet and the child need to be trained to behave appropriately with each other.

Children and adults alike can benefit from playing with pets, which can be both a source of calmness and relaxation, as well as a source of stimulation for the brain and body. Playing with a pet can even be a doorway to learning for a child. It can stimulate a child’s imagination and curiosity. The rewards of training a dog to perform a new trick, for example, can teach kids the importance of perseverance. Caring for a furry friend can also offer another benefit to a child: immense joy.

To buy or not to buy?
Only buy pet if you will be able to keep and enjoy it. It is upsetting for children to have a pet arrive and then be sent away when the pet proves too troublesome. Buy an animal that is suitable to your setting. If it is right for you and, just as importantly for the animal who will become a member of your family, then the following are some of the advantages of pet ownership:

Pets teach children how to undertake routine tasks and carry them out each day. Cleaning out a cage, changing water in a fish tank or putting down new bedding teach children to take responsibility for the welfare of another living thing

Children learn to be kind, caring, and sympathetic. A new and vulnerable living thing into a household brings out the best in children, particularly when children know that the animal has just left its family. Sensitivity, sympathy and empathy are often learned in this situation

Security and friendship:
Children often feel safer in a house knowing that there is a dog that will alert the family to intruders. The child walking with dog often feels more secure. An animal can provide a friend for a lonely child because animals always have time to listen, don't answer back, and can usually be cuddled and stroked to help ease the upsets of the child's day. Animals don't care if you are clever or popular or good at reading or bad at spelling,. Animals love their owners unconditionally. This is an important friendship for many children.

Children who otherwise might be glued to the TV, the computer or the DVD have a reason to walk, and run if they have a dog to exercise. Don't forget that the daily walk for the dog means that your child has exercise every day. This is the health side of pet ownership
Self-Esteem:There is a real sense of self-esteem for the child who teaches an animal something new. Teaching a dog to fetch a stick, teaching a bird to mimic a sound or perch on your finger, wathing an animal eat from your hand, all these activities will give you're children a wonderful sense of themselves, of mastery and of worth

Children with learning and other disorders
Some children with autism or other learning difficulties are better able to interact with pets than people. Autistic children often rely on nonverbal cues to communicate, just as pets do. And learning to first connect with a cat or dog, for example, may even help an autistic child in their interactions with people.

Pets can help children with learning disabilities learn how to regulate stress and calm themselves, making them better equipped to overcome the challenges of their disorder.
Playing and exercising with a pet can help a child with learning disorders stay alert and attentive throughout the day. It can also be a great antidote to stress and frustration caused by the learning disability.
Learning to ride a horse can help elevate the self-esteem of disabled children, putting them on a more equal level with kids without disabilities.

Toxoplasmosis and salmonella are two examples of animal-related infections which can be passed on to humans through poor hygiene. Toddlers should be encouraged not to put dirty fingers into their mouths. Do not let a dog or cat lick a child’s face.

Wash your hands

• before meals
• before handling babies bottles or utensils
• before preparing food and after handling raw meat
• after you have handled or cleared up after a pet
• after changing your baby’s nappy
• after doing the gardening

Look after your pet

• Worm your pet regularly
• Keep the vaccinations up to date
• Check for fleas and signs of ringworm (a fungal skin infection) and treat accordingly
• Take your pet to the vet for an annual check-up

If your pet does become ill, don’t allow your child to touch or stroke it. If you are pregnant, do not touch it yourself, particularly if the illness involves an upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhoea. These symptoms could indicate a bacterial infection, such as salmonella, which could be passed on to you (affecting your unborn baby too), or your child.

Don’t handle cat litter if pregnant - get someone else to do it.

Infections in animal faces:
Two different infections can be present in faeces – toxoplasmosis (cats) and toxocariasis (dogs).
Toxoplasmosis is a fairly harmless infection, except in early pregnancy when it can cause miscarriage or blindness in the unborn baby, and may even prove fatal once the baby is born. Although it is most commonly passed on through eating under-cooked meat, it can be found in cat faeces. If you’re pregnant and worried, contact your doctor for diagnosis via a blood test.
Toxocariasis is a very rare condition caused by a parasitic worm found in dogs and foxes. It is passed on to humans via eggs in the faeces and can cause epilepsy or blindness in children.

Avoid infection by:

• cooking all meat thoroughly
• washing fruit and vegetables before eating
• not letting your child have contact with puppies before they have been wormed
• keeping your child away from areas where pets defecate
• cleaning up cat or dog faeces regularly from your garden (or ask someone else to do it if you are pregnant)
• asking someone else to clean out the cat litter tray if you are pregnant

 Pet Allergies

Allergies such as asthma are on the increase. The National Asthma Campaign estimates that up to 40% asthma sufferers are sensitive to allergens found in their pet’s fur, hair, dander, dead skin cells, saliva and urine. If anyone in the family suffers from allergies, it is best not to have a pet at all. (Or have a rabbit or guinea pig kept outside - better when the child is older and you can check for an allergy) If you can’t bear to part with your pet, limit the places it can go – in particular bedrooms – and groom it regularly.

Do not allow a pet to go into your baby’s room because of the risk of suffocation.

Jealous Pets

Pets can become very jealous when there’s a new baby in the family, especially if they’ve been used to having all the attention. Only let your pet go near your baby with you staying close by – never leave your pet and baby alone together.

A noisy, playful toddler may also aggravate your pet. Warn your child not to approach your pet unexpectedly; do not allow her to climb onto your pet’s bed, as this is its territory, and tell her not to disturb your pet while it is eating or sleeping.


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