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Keeping Kids Healthy Around a New Pet

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Recently DogTipper had the opportunity to interview Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and we asked him about how families can keep children healthy when they add a new pet to their family. According to Dr. Oz,

We go through this every year. I think we have five cats, a puppy dog – Rosie, who’s been on the show a bunch of times – and hamsters, rabbits, fish, everything. In fact, if you want some pets, please let me know.

The big issues of course depend on what the animals are, so almost invariably I get the full-court press for some reptilian life form. Last year it was a box turtle – they carry different viruses, including salmonella, than a dog would. With reptiles, it’s more a matter of making sure that you keep them healthy, because otherwise they’ll pick up bugs that will kill them and not be dangerous to you.

With dogs, they come to you sometimes with worms, sometimes with other bacteria, and although the bite of a human is argued to be more dangerous than the bite of a dog, they’re both bad for you if they happen.

We tell our kids although you love the dog, don’t let the dog lick you, because the dog has been licking things that aren’t so hygienic. So you can show your affection with the dog without doing mouth-to-snout resuscitation on him.

And with cats in particular, we’re cautious about their kitty litter early on, just because some of the different bacteria and parasites that are found in that kitty litter can be problematic, so we always check them out with the vet.

We get them from shelters frequently, so it’s a smart move for us anyway.