Pet Care Treatments and Children: Using Chemicals Safely

a girl hugs her dog after a flea and tick treatment

As our loyal companions, our pets are often treated as an addition to the family. We care for them when it comes to food, shelter, and sickness. When confronting pesky parasites such as fleas, ticks, or mange through a harsh chemical treatment for your pet, a question that will usually cross the mind of a responsible adult is the effectiveness and safety of that eradicating solution on your pet. After ensuring that your pet is safe and beginning treatment, many forget to ask the critical question of whether or not such a harsh chemical that is approved for treatment on animals is also acceptable when in contact with humans. In spending so much time with a beloved pet, we must also evaluate the potential risks of coming into contact with potentially harmful chemicals used for therapy and treatment of parasites.

Problem Parasites

There is no doubt that untreated parasites can eventually become extremely harmful to a pet’s health and even life, but one must make sure that no harm comes to a child or to oneself during such treatments. These parasites have a few differences. Ticks are eight-legged bloodsuckers that bear a slightly familiar appearance to spiders. Fleas are insects and are six-legged jumpers. Mites are exceptionally small but can cause extreme itching when they burrow into a pet’s skin to lay eggs. All of these parasites are nuisances and must be immediately dealt with to ensure a pet’s health.

Medication Treatments

In order to combat these parasites, chemical ointments applied topically to a dog’s skin will be necessary. These chemicals, such as Imidacloprid, Permethrin, or Pyripoxyfen, combine together to form a compound that both repels and kills all life cycle stages of fleas and ticks. The product can have a side effect of burning and serious, life-threatening properties should a human or other animal ingest it. Avoiding copious contact with a recently treated dog is ideal. Mange treatments for mites are also similar in that the toxicity and harshness of the chemical compounds involved. They can come in shampoos, ointments, and sprays. In either case, avoiding direct contact with the dog during application by wearing gloves or other barriers for the skin is ideal. Keep children further away from treated animals for the first few hours, as chemical ointments can cause harm if they are rubbed one a child in sufficient concentrations.

Taking Precautions

Keeping children and pets segregated during the initial application of the treatment should be a priority. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. For example, one could set up a pet fence in a designated area of the house to prevent the pet from accidentally brushing up against the child. Alternatively, one could apply the ointment when the kids are away during the school day, during a trip, during an event such as a birthday party. Any event that will take a few hours can serve as an appropriate period of time to let the treatment work and to avoid any potential chemical burns or irritation that can arise from body contact with the treated animal.

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