Pets can be great additions to families, but when is the right time to introduce a pet to children? Dogs and cats are popular choices, but what about hamsters, fish, birds or reptiles? Are there better pet choices if family members have allergies? What can you do to decrease exposure to pet allergens? What infection risks from pets should parents know about? How can we teach children to avoid getting bitten by pets, and what should you do if they do get bit? We discuss these issues and more as we explore the world of children and their beloved animals in this episode.

This episode written by Drs. Dean Blumberg and Lena van der List.

We thank Dr. Samantha Goggin at UC Davis Children's Hospital for suggesting this topic.

We also thank Dr. Victoria Dimitriades, a Pediatric Allergist and Immunologist at UC Davis Children's Hospital, for reviewing pet allergies, although Drs. Dean and Lena take responsibility for any errors or misinformation.

Supplemental information:

Photo from Companion Animal Psychology.