Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingNewborn & Baby · 1 decade ago

having pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, etc...) in the house with small children?

My husband and I were wondering, in your opinion

what are the pros and cons of having pets in a house with small children?

pets such as hamsters, dogs, cats, ect...

Our opinions differ slightly:

Being raised on a rescue farm, my father had me around all sorts of farm animals from a very young age, even as a toddler

As soon as I could walk, I was following my father around the barn watching him and helping with what I was able to help with...whether that was fetching water or holding a can of feed while he checked the hen's nests for eggs...

Of course I was supervised with the chickens and the dogs and other all other animals until I was old enough to understand that I needed to wash my hands after touching them; I also was supervised in handling of the animals and only allowed to handle them in an age appropriate manner

And as a result I'd like to think that I grew up more responsible, more compassionate as a result

My husband on the other hand had a very limited number of pets growing up, most of which were not in his care even when he grew older

However, as married adults, we share and love our fur-babies; we have 4 hamsters and one cat, all of which he plays with and cares for just as much as I do. I often catch him sitting in the play-pen with one fur-ball or another when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Man, he loves those little fluffies!

But at the same time he worries that having pets around small children might be a problem. He worries that having furry pets, like a dog or a cat might make our child more prone to asthma. Or that a pet like a hamster might carry some disease and transfer it to our child...

Now, I feel that if properly monitored that keeping pets would be beneficial to a child. The extra dirt around might even help boost their immune system (you don't expose them to things like germs when they are young, they are more likely to have a poor immune system as they grow older).

He worries that having pets around will make them ill.

We do however agree that pets would be an excellent way of teaching responsiblity and compassion...

We also feel that having pets is a good way of teaching about death, (its how my dad did it).

so whats your opinion?

what are the pros and cons of pet ownership for parents of small children?

including health risks/benefits and emotional risks/benefits?

(just to clarify, we're not fighting, just trying to find a comprimise and curious as to what other parents opinions might be)


should probably also mention, we're pregnant right now; due in January

Update 2:

also forgot to mention,

I've been working with the Humane Society for most of my life, since my father owns a rescue; I also have worked as a professional groomer and am currently taking courses to become a veterinary technician (graduate in 3 years) so proper animal care would not be an issue

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    We have two lab mix dogs, about 70pounds each with our 20 month old daughter. It has been wonderful! They are great with her and she is really good with them. She has learned to be gentle with touching them.

    I don't find any health risks, but I have heard them same as Obber about the possibility of reduced risks for allergies,etc with exposure to pets.

  • 4 years ago

    Well I have a 3 year old son and a 1 year old daughter and when my son was 1, I got him a little bunny. He called it a "puppy" but he was only 1! The bunny died a few months after we got it and he learned a little about death. Now we have 3 cats and the kids love them. He carried our kitten around all day when we brought it home. My daughter loves to pet the kitty and tries to sneak them chicken nuggets at dinner time. I think pets are awesome from the get go. We also foster rescue dogs from time to time and my kids love when we get a puppy in the house! It's a great way to teach them all sorts of things. And it doesn't make them more prone to asthma. That is a genetic disease. My daughter had it from birth. And we just got the cats this past March. So that's my opinion. Hope that helps. ADD: I also work in a vet's office and know for a fact that there are very few disseases that are zoonotic(i.e. can be passed from animal to human). As long as the animals are properly vaccinated(no farm store vaccines!), you have nothing to worry about.

  • 1 decade ago

    We have 3 cats and there has been no problem (I just make sure to keep up on all their shots at the vet). I have a 9 month old and am pregnant again. Our 9 month old loves the cats, the only sad part is he wants to pet them and they run from him (mostly because he wants to pull their tail rather than pet them nicely!!)

    So I think it should be absolutely fine, sounds like you know a lot about animals and there won't be any problem.

    I don't know much about hamsters but I imagine they are harmless, many parents buy hamsters for their little children.

    If your husband is uncomfortable maybe he should go to the next vet appt you have and voice his concerns to the vet, they will be able to answer any questions.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think having pets is a great way to build compassion. I have two dogs with my 6 month old daughter. She absolutely loves them! I think a pet also helps build responsibility.

    I dont know about the immune system and all that...

    I think kids who arent introduced to different animals have bad fears and i know that fears like that can run some peoples lives when they are older!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    "Conclusion Exposure to 2 or more dogs or cats in the first year of life may reduce subsequent risk of allergic sensitization to multiple allergens during childhood."

    We have two cats and a -14mo; it's fantastic watching her go after them and hug and pet them. She hugs and pets other people's cats, says "cat! cat!" whenever we see one. Babies and pets together are a delight.

    Only con I'm aware of is that you will likely find yourself with substantially less time for your fur-babies after the baby baby shows up. This evens out eventually, though.

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