Adding pets to a family sounds pretty easy. I mean what kid wouldn’t want a cute, cuddly, new bunny, kitten, or puppy around the house. And, yet, there are a lot of gotchas to watch out for.
The biggest one is allergies. In a house with no pets, and no real chance to notice your child’s reaction to other pets, it can be very easy to overlook allergic reactions until the new pet is in your home. Of course, by then, it’s really, REALLY hard to back out of having a new pet.
Check for Pet Allergies Before Adopting
Adopting from an animal shelter is a great way to add a new pet to your family. Not only do you help and animal in need, but most shelters will put your and your potential new pet in a small room so you can see how compatible you both are.
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Intuitively, you’ll be looking at the pet the whole time. Is this the right puppy for us? Can these bunnies really be this cute all the time?
But, be sure and keep looking at your kids as well. In cartoons, people start sneezing the second they get near an animal they are allergic to. In real life, not all allergies are sneezing, and many allergic reactions take several minutes to get started. So, be sure to do a visual check on your kiddos not only in the beginning, but throughout your visit, and especially at the end.
Are their eyes watering or getting red? Are they starting to get the sniffles? How about a dry hacking cough? All of these are signs of possible allergic reaction.
For the best test, be sure to really observe your kids right before going into the place with the pets. If their nose is already running, a runny nose at the shelter may not indicate and allergy. Be sure your kiddo holds the animal, preferably with short sleeves. Encourage them to play with the animal like they would if the new pet was at the house.
This close contact with the animal is what will set off the allergic reaction if there is going to be one. If possible, you may want to wait until the next day before adopting. Then, watch and listen on the car ride home. Are they congested? Are they itchy?
Not being able to get a pet due to allergies is a giant bummer, but nowhere near as big of a heartbreak of giving up an animal you’ve already brought into your house and started to love. Also, keep in mind that many places won’t take back animals at all, or at least won’t refund your money, so it could be a costly hassle as well.
Hopefully, your home can be pet and kiddo free. It just might take a couple of tries to find the animal that is right for you. If nothing else, there is always fish.