Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cute animals with big risks!

One of the first responsibilities we try to teach our children is how to take care of a beloved pet. That is always a great opportunity for them to learn but children that age generally have a tendency not to wash their hands after handling a pet. Quite often they kiss an animal or put their fingers in their mouths after they have touched their pet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against giving children access to certain types of pets. On the list are lizards, turtles, baby chicks, hamsters and hedgehogs. While all are small and easy to handle, these animals are more prone to carry diseases or germs like salmonella. Children’s immune systems are still developing resistance to disease. If you own one of these pets already or are thinking of purchasing one, you may want to talk with your veterinarian about benefits and risks.

Our recommendation is to wait until a child is old enough to have good hygiene practices and past the point of putting their fingers in their mouths.

Further information is available at the following websites:
The American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org
The American Veterinary Medical Association: http://www.avma.org

Picture courtesy of: http://www.freenaturepictures.com






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