It’s no secret that most kids beg their parents for a pet of some sort over the course of their childhood. Most parents simply have to worry about whether or not they want to take on the responsibility of bringing an animal into the house. But for, eczema parents, they have a whole other set of worries.
Will having a pet aggravate my child’s eczema? Can I even get my eczema child a pet?
In short, the answer is yes. You can get your eczema child the pet they’ve been begging for! There are plenty of options that tend to be safe for kids with all kinds of allergies and eczema.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a cat, dog, rabbit, or hamster; most fuzzy animals are safe for those with eczema. Take a few simple precautions, and you’ll be all set.
According to several studies, children who are brought up with a pet have a significantly lower risk of developing eczema than adults. A pet may help you relax and provide unconditional support when dealing with eczema. This is especially true for dogs, but hamsters aren’t far behind.
One study, published in April 2020 Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, concluded that infants who live with dogs had a 40 percent lower risk of asthma, 28 percent lower risk of allergic rhinitis, and a 23 percent lower risk of atopic sensitization.
When your child is affected by episodes of itching, redness, and painful patches of skin, you will do whatever in your power to assist them in finding relief from their symptoms.
What you need to know about dander, fur, and oil:
Dander is one of the biggest concerns when deciding whether or not to bring a pet into the home of a child with eczema or allergies. Because dander is hard to see, it’s often difficult to manage.
Pet dander, also known as flakes of dead skin cells, is a common factor in the development of eczema and other disorders closely related to it, such as asthma.
When your pet sheds its skin, fur also sheds. This can cause various reactions in a child with allergies ranging from skin irritations to allergies and immune responses.
You’ll want to consider hypoallergenic dogs – they are less likely to irritate your child’s eczema, AND you won’t need to vacuum the house every day! Poodles, Yorkies, tiny schnauzers, Shih Tzus, and Maltese are among the most popular breeds of hypoallergenic puppies. Maltese are another popular choice.
With cats and dogs, fur is unavoidable. But if you brush and bathe your pet regularly, you can keep the problem at bay!
If you think your pet is making your eczema symptoms worse, follow these measures before you give up:
- Clean up the mess. Pet dander has a sticky texture. It ends up everywhere. Keep your carpets and furnishings clean by vacuuming on a regular basis. Look inside a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
- Confirm if it is a pet allergy. Ask your doctor whether you need any testing. It’s possible that you’re dealing with something else, such as cockroaches or dust mites.
- Ask about the various treatment choices available. You may be able to retain your pet if you take medication to treat your eczema and reduce its symptoms.
What kind of pets are safe for children with eczema?
When kids beg for a pet, it’s almost always a dog. Because of the dander, oils, saliva, and fur, parents of children with eczema may find this frightening.
Aside from an animal’s fur, saliva and other fluids are the actual problems because they are left behind when the animal licks itself.
But there are ways to ensure you find the most allergy-friendly pal for your little one.
When looking for a dog, use the following criteria:
- Get a smaller dog! It makes sense—the larger the dog, the more dander, oils, saliva, and fur. If you opt for a smaller dog, there will be less of all of the above allergens.
- Choose dogs with curly hair that don’t shed! The dander gets tangled up in the curly hair. This prevents the dander from getting all over the house and all over your child.
- You’ll want to ensure that you train your dog not to lick. This will prevent the spreading of saliva!
Cats are another option. You’ll want to choose a breed with less fur. Similar to when choosing a dog. This will lessen the opportunity for allergens to spread around the house!
When choosing between long-haired and short-haired cats, opt for short because they shed lighter. Keep in mind that you’ll want to brush your cats outside of the house on a regular basis to prevent indoor shedding.
Is your eczema child asking for a sea creature? Maybe a fish or a turtle? You’re in luck! No hair or dander there! There will be minimal contact between your child and a water-based pet. This could be a great compromise if you’re still uncomfortable getting a cat or a dog!