Posted in Doggies on 09. Oct, 2012
Don’t let your pet pass diseases to your children
It’s hard to imagine your much-loved pet posing a health risk to members of the family. But the fact is diseases can be passed from dogs to humans – with young children the greatest at risk.
Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are among the most common parasites transmitted from dogs to humans and their effect on children can be more serious because the young immune system is not yet fully developed.
Children can become infected with roundworms when they accidentally swallow the eggs, usually through playing in contaminated areas such as sandpits, and then putting their hands in their mouths without washing.
Hookworms can be passed in the same way, but can also enter the body through the skin when children play in affected areas.
Transmission of tapeworms is less common, as the child would have to swallow an infected flea. But it can and does happen where a flea lands on food or gets into the child’s mouth when he or she is kissing the dog.
Effects on children
Roundworms can rob your child of vital nutrients and could lead to malnutrition, enlarged liver, abdominal pain and, in rare cases, loss of vision. Hookworms also take nutrients from the body and can sometimes cause intestinal bleeding and abdominal pain. Tapeworms can lead to abdominal pain, itching and stomach cramps.
Thankfully, it is possible to keep your pet relatively free from parasites by following a regular worming routine and taking simple precautions. This in turn protects your children from the threat of parasites.
All adult animals should be wormed a minimum of every three months. Dog worming tablets combat the threat of worms that live in the intestine, including roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and whipworm.
Most puppies are actually born with worms. Mothers can pass it on before birth and also through their milk after birth. Therefore, it is important to begin worming puppies from the age of two weeks, then every two weeks until they reach 12 weeks. They should then be wormed monthly up to the age of six months, after which they can be treated as an adult dog.
Extra care should always be taken with young animals, so consult your vet for further advice.
Four top tips to keep pets and children safe
Prevention is always better than cure and taking simple steps could reduce the risk of your child becoming infected, while keeping your pet fit and healthy:
- Don’t let children play in public areas with bare feet
- Make sure your dog’s sleeping area is clean
- Make sure fleas are kept under control by administering a regular flea treatment
- Always wash your hands after playing with your dog and do not let pets lick your face