Pets and children with cancer

2015_8971 Feb. 04Children tend to be at higher risk for infection from pets than adults, because they’re more likely to crawl on the floor with the pet and put things in their mouths. Some pets that are fine for adults can pose more of a hazard to children. As with adults, it’s best to avoid getting a new pet if your child has a weak immune system. This is even more important if the child might be getting a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

All of the information about pets and adults with cancer also applies to pets in a household where a child has cancer. When kids are too young to follow the precautions, they shouldn’t interact with pets. Even older ones might need your help.

Adults should supervise the child spending time with pets. Don’t allow kissing, food sharing, or rough play. With smaller kids, don’t let them put the pet’s toys or their own fingers in their mouths. Be sure the child’s hands are washed thoroughly afterwards, and again before eating, drinking, or taking medicines.

As with adults, be sure your child’s cancer team is aware of your pet and find out if there are any special precautions for your child’s situation.

Keep your child away from strays, wild animals, petting zoos, and other people’s pets.