Your Baby and Your Pets

Your baby becomes better able to interact with his surroundings every day. If you have dogs, cats or other pets at home, take steps now to get your pet adjusted to having a baby in the house.

Keep a close eye on your baby and pet when they interact; even pets that seemed to have accepted a baby may change their tune when the baby begins to crawl and grab.

Curious babies and toddlers can annoy the most patient pet to the point that the animal bites or scratches. Teach your baby how to be gentle right from the start, and never leave your pet and baby alone together.

Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date, too; unvaccinated pets can pose a health risk to the entire family.

Do not keep reptiles, including turtles, as pets; many carry salmonella, which causes severe diarrhea that can be dangerous for infants.

Even those favorite pets of childhood, guinea pigs and hamsters, can carry harmful bacteria. If you have one in the house, be sure that everyone washes their hands after playing with it and before holding the baby.

See also ...

Pet selection and safety for families

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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