Keeping healthy with pets

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having to find a new home for the beloved family pet because of health issues in the family. So consider the following before you choose the next addition to your family.

Top tip: Keep your pet beds and family areas sanitised with a disinfectant spray and be sure to wipe down any food surfaces that your cheeky cat may have decided to sunbathe on. This will help reduce the risk of pet related health issues.

Asthma and allergies:

  • People who suffer asthma and/or other allergic reactions from contact with animals are either reacting to animal hair, saliva or skin flakes.
  • While there are breeds of both dogs and cats that can minimise these problems (though a skin flake allergy cannot be avoided because all animals with hair shed skin flakes), you should get advice from your doctor or vet before choosing a pet.
  • If you have an allergic reaction to animal hair/ saliva or skin flakes, consider keeping a reptile as a pet.
  • An air purifier can help to remove allergens that enter your living environment from pets.

Cats and Toxoplasmosis:

  • Toxoplasmosis is an infection that can be caught by coming into contact with cat droppings.
  • Toxoplasmosis isn’t usually serious, unless you are pregnant, as it can be transmitted to the foetus and do harm.
  • If you own a cat, or have cats in the neighbourhood, it’s wise to wear gloves when you’re gardening to avoid contact with cat droppings.


  • Dogs and other pets can spread ringworm (which is a fungus not a worm) to humans.
  • Gastrointestinal worms (hook, whip, round, tape worms) can be passed from dogs to humans and cause illness.
  • If you own a pet, you should regularly worm the entire family – children, adults, pet.

Fleas and Lice:

  • Fleas are easily transferred from animal to human – annoying but not a health problem.
  • To keep your pet free from fleas, you need to use appropriate chemicals on a regular basis – while fleas will generally disappear during winter (the colder temperatures keep them at bay), they will appear the moment the weather warms up. This means that all the eggs that were laid last summer will now hatch.
  • If your pet lives indoors, and you have a flea problem, use winter as a good time to deflea the house – vacuum all carpets, and wash your pet’s bedding in hot water.

Cats and sandpits:

  • Cats love to use sandpits as one huge kitty litter tray, so to keep your sandpit clean and clear of cat droppings, make sure that you always keep it covered when you’re not using it.
  • Regularly rake your sandpit through to check for droppings, along with other rubbish that may pose a risk to your child.
  • If the sand does become dirty, consider refreshing the sandpit with new sand.



  1. kymmage 30/03/2018 at 11:27 pm

    We recently had a bout of fleas in our house. My cat is allergic to fleas or rather to their saliva, so that is fun! She is also allergic to cheap flea treatment. The things you don’t think about when getting a cat. Still, we have found a flea treatment that works and I bought three months worth so hopefully the flea situation is solved now. Easier to deal with than nits!

  2. Mands1980 13/03/2018 at 7:36 pm

    We have 2 cats in the house and an outside dog luckily none of our children have allergies. We have a regular worming programme for for our cats and dogs as well as fleas. We also put a cover over the sandpit to ensure the cats can’t use it as a toilet. Washing hands is very important with kids and patting animals as well I am still always saying to them wash your hands.

  3. MuddledUpMolly 08/03/2018 at 2:34 pm

    Unfortunately I am an asthmatic, have hay fever and I am allergic to animal fur and hair! I love animals though so we still have a house cat but sometimes I wish that I wasn’t so allergic to him 🙁

  4. Kjgee 07/03/2018 at 8:22 am

    We always had a cat or dog growing up, and now with my own kids/family we have always had a cat and when on the farm – chickens too. Luckily none of my children suffer from allergies because trying to keep my long-haired cats fur away from them would be difficult! They all love when the cat sleeps at the foot of the bed, and feeding it gives them a sense of responsibility, too.

  5. Bevik1971 05/03/2018 at 4:27 pm

    Love pets and always had them around growing up (lived in a farm so farm dogs and cats everywhere lol). But when we moved to the city we always had a cat too and loved having them around. Our daughter is 5 and we haven’t had a pet as yet as we live right in the middle of town in an apartment so it’s not viable to have a pet yet. We are looking at possibly moving in the next year or so and we have all decided we want to get a little dog when we move! Excited about that! They are a lot of work and also everyone does need to be wary of health and cleanliness with animals for sure.

  6. danielle2211 02/03/2018 at 10:09 pm

    Having a pet is great for teaching kids about caring for others. But is also a big responsibility. Agree you need to keep up with flea treatments and worming especially with young ones exploring and touching everything. Cats and the sandpit is the worst seems like cats come from miles away to get in there. We have a dog and 2 chickens. I think the chickens make the best pets for the kid the are curious creatures and kids live collecting the eggs and they live outside.

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