my child is allergic to our pet

What happens when you discover that your child is allergic to the family pet? The answers may surprise you.

Allergies can emerge at any age, and many families often already have a pet when their child's symptoms start. The good news is giving up your child's four-legged friend may not always be necessary.


Control the Dander, Treat the Symptoms

"The best treatment for an allergy is always to remove the allergen, but in the case of pets you have to be realistic," says Dr. Goldstein. "People are obviously very emotionally attached to them."

If you opt to keep your pet, your child's allergist or pediatrician will recommend strategies for reducing the dander in your house and possibly prescribe medications to keep rashes and respiratory reactions at bay.

The Last Resort

If your child's allergy is severe, however, getting rid of your pet may be the only choice. And even if the symptoms are mild or moderate, Dr. Goldstein warns they could get worse if you do keep your pet. "Your child could become more sensitive to the dander and could even develop asthma, which is a much more serious condition," he explains.

Prepare Your Child

To help prepare your child for the possibility that a pet may have to be given up, Dr. Goldstein recommends creating a family pact where everyone agrees to give away your pet if your child's pet allergies escalate and become more severe.
Because giving up a pet can be extremely traumatic, Carlton recommends trying to find an alternative home for your pet--either with a relative or family friend--so your child can still see it. She also warns against parents displaying their own disappointment over the loss: "Your child will feel guilty as well as sad."
Important Disclaimer: This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a doctor with questions about your or your child's condition. does not recommend or endorse specific tests, products, procedures, opinions, or other information provided by any sponsors or other third parties. Please also see's Terms of Use.
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