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My baby is allergic to my long-time pet… what do I do?

Photo by Dean Wissing / CC by

It’s always a happy time when the family expands with the arrival of a new baby. However, this might mean that they’ll be incompatible with other beloved family members… such as your pet. What do you do if your little one turns out to be allergic to the family cat or the dog you’ve had for years? You don’t want to put the baby at risk, but giving your pet away is also heartbreaking. Is there any solution to this problem?

What causes pet allergies?

First, let’s identify what can cause pet allergies. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the hair or fur that we’re allergic to, even though it can retain dust, dirt and other components that can be harmful to adults and babies alike. The allergic reactions occur when the person comes in contact with the animal’s feces, urine, saliva or skin flakes.

How do pet allergies manifest themselves?

If your baby presents symptoms year-round, as opposed to just seasonally, you know they are having an allergic reaction to something in the house. The symptoms are coughing, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and general wheezing indoors.

What are my options?

Well, the first thing you need to do, before anything else, is to take your baby to the allergist, in order to determine what, exactly, is causing these reactions. If they confirm that it is, indeed, a pet allergy, you will also be able to determine how severe it is and what do to.

Removing your pet

Obviously, the go-to option is to remove the pet from your home. Many people choose to simply give the animal away, in order to protect the child. Now, you can do this if you think it’s best and it isn’t difficult for you to get rid of your dog or cat. It’s a valid choice and the right one for many families. However, it’s good to know that this isn’t the only option you have.

Cleaning thoroughly and often

If you want to at least try to make it work and keep both the baby and the pet in the same house, there are certain things you can do. The key is to minimize the amount of dander (or skin flakes) present in your home. This can be done with diligent cleaning, vacuuming and damp dusting, as well as making sure everyone in the household is washing their hands frequently and that the pet is regularly groomed.

Purifying the air

In addition, you’re going to want to invest in an air purifier, as well as an air-conditioning system, in an effort to try to keep the air as clean and as pure as possible. As long as the baby does not come in contact with or inhale the aforementioned targeted substances, everything should be fine.

Minimizing contact

Of course, you should also make sure the pet does not have access to the nursery and, if possible, make your pet an outdoors one, instead of an indoors one. The more you limit contact between the pet and the baby, the better. You can also seek treatment that will calm down or subdue allergies, in time.

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