The health note­book

Pro­tect your hu­man ba­bies by keep­ing things safe and hy­gienic if you’re a pet-lov­ing par­ent

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

IN­TRO­DUC­TIONS Make sure your pet is ready for the big dis­rup­tion on the day you bring your new baby home. If you can, take an item of cloth­ing that the baby wore home a day be­fore to in­tro­duce the new smell. Train your dog to stay out of the nurs­ery long be­fore baby ar­rives. Make sure some­one takes your dog for a long walk be­fore you get home, so that over-ex­cite­ment doesn’t get the bet­ter of him. Re­mem­ber, he is most likely feel­ing a lit­tle ne­glected with you be­ing away hav­ing a baby! Model very calm be­hav­iour while hold­ing the baby and al­low­ing your baby to meet the new fam­ily mem­ber. Calm pets can come a lit­tle closer, oth­er­wise main­tain a dis­tance.

FLEAS Fleas just love our furry friends. Check your pet reg­u­larly. Flip him on his back and have a good look at his tummy, his groin and also un­der his tail. Also check out his ears to see if you spot signs of ex­ces­sive scratch­ing, such as red­ness or lit­tle bits of dry blood, as this can also be a sign of fleas. Your near­est vet, pet shop or chemist should be able to sup­ply you with med­i­ca­tion to help you treat and pre­vent fleas. Be warned though: don’t use just any type of med­i­ca­tion for any an­i­mal, as what works for one an­i­mal type can be toxic for an­other. Keep your chil­dren away from the pet for a while af­ter treat­ment and store the meds in a safe place, just as you would any other med­i­ca­tion.

WORMS These par­a­sites are nasty, but un­for­tu­nately rather com­mon in chil­dren. Make reg­u­lar de­worm­ing – ev­ery six months – part of your life from when your child turns two years old. It is easy. Ask your chemist. The de­worm­ing meds even come in choco­late flavour these days. Do it as a fam­ily, and make sure that your child’s nanny, or granny, or any­one who works with your child’s food, also de­worms at the same time. Your pets need to be de­wormed as well, of course. Your vet will put you on a sched­ule and most likely pro­vide an SMS re­minder ser­vice. A broad-spec­trum treat­ment not only treats worms but also works to pre­vent re-in­fec­tion.

AL­LER­GIES Some­times pets can trig­ger al­ler­gies. But in­ter­est­ingly enough, it isn’t al­ways the

long-haired pets that cause the prob­lems, as the al­ler­gies mostly aren’t to hair, but rather to the dead skin or the an­i­mal’s saliva that is found on the hair. To limit ex­po­sure, make sure your pet never en­ters your child’s bed­room, and keep them off the soft fur­nish­ings. Vac­uum ev­ery day. Wash your pet ev­ery week if al­ler­gies are an is­sue in your home.

VAC­CINES Ra­bies is a deadly virus that af­fects mostly dogs. It lives in the saliva of the af­fected an­i­mal and en­ters the body through lick­ing of wounds or through bites. It is vi­tal that you vac­ci­nate your an­i­mals against it. Once the symp­toms ap­pear, noth­ing can be done. If your child ever gets bit­ten, or if you sus­pect that your pet might have ra­bies, you should go to the hos­pi­tal without fail. In gen­eral, keep your dog on your prop­erty and don’t al­low it to roam free and make sure other dogs can’t get onto your prop­erty. YB

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