What Types of Pets Are Good for Children Who Have Eczema?– Itchy Baby Co.

What Types of Pets Are Good for Children Who Have Eczema?

  • by Rachelle Davenport
What Types of Pets Are Good for Children Who Have Eczema?

What Types of Pets Are Good for Children Who Have Eczema?

As a parent or carer of a child with eczema, you’ll probably find yourself searching for possible triggers in all areas of your life, especially at home. Pets are a much-loved part of our family, but unfortunately, they can sometimes trigger flare-ups in little ones who struggle with eczema. Today, we explore the research on pets and eczema and how to minimise flare-ups if you suspect your pet could be a trigger.

Can Children with Eczema Have Pets?

Most of us love pets – especially children! They’re a huge source of love and enjoyment and can help your child nurture a deeper sense of responsibility. However, if your child has eczema, having a family pet has some extra considerations – pet dander and other allergens or irritants can potentially trigger eczema and aggravate a flare-up.

In the case of severe eczema or allergies, some families will choose not to bring a pet into their home. But if you do decide to make pets a part of your family, or you already have pets, there are some ways you can try and minimise the risk. Of course, we recommend speaking with your doctor for advice before deciding to add a pet to your household, or if you suspect your pet is causing eczema symptoms.

Which Pets Can Trigger Eczema?

Any animal that sheds dander (skin cells from the body of various animals that have fur, hair or feathers) has the potential to trigger eczema symptoms. Proteins in pet urine and saliva can also be a trigger.

You may have heard of ‘hypoallergenic pets’ being better for your eczema child; however, these animals are not always better for children with allergies because they may still have the potential to transfer dander and saliva to your child. If your child has their heart set on getting a pet, choosing something like a goldfish may be a safer (although less cuddly!) compromise.

Research on Pets and Eczema

Some research shows that children who grow up with pets at an early age may be less likely to develop eczema later on. This is linked to what doctors call the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, which suggests that exposure to germs at a young age can help create a stronger immune system.

This study published in The Journal of Paediatrics showed that dog ownership at an early age reduced the risk of eczema at four years old among dog-sensitised children. However, the same study concluded that cat ownership by cat-sensitised children increased the risk of developing eczema.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergic symptoms can worsen with triggers such as pet dander, saliva or urine, and not always just the pet’s fur. However, pet fur can also attract pollen and other outdoor allergens, potentially setting off symptoms.

Since research is not conclusive about the positives and negatives of owning different pets when you have a child with eczema, it may be safer to opt for a lower allergy-risk pet, like a fish, reptile or amphibian. You can also spend time with the type of pet you’re considering (say, at a friend or family member’s home), see if your child’s symptoms worsen, and then decide. It’s best to seek advice from your doctor or allergist before committing to a pet.

Tips for Living with a Pet

If you already live with a pet in your home and suspect they are aggravating your child’s eczema, consult with your physician for advice. Here are some practical tips to minimise flare-ups:

  • Vacuum and dust regularly to get rid of pet dander and fur, as well as any dust mites that might be roaming around (using a HEPA vacuum is recommended)
  • Keep your pet out of bedrooms
  • Wash your pet’s bedding frequently
  • Bathe and groom your pet regularly to get rid of allergens that may be on them. It is best to do it outside to minimise contact with your child.
  • Make sure to wash your child’s hands after playing with the pets. Regular bath time with a gentle cleanser is important to wash away triggers, especially after your child encounters irritants and allergens.
  • Always remember to moisturise to keep the skin soft and hydrated!

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from the Itchy Baby Co. team x.


Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

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