Eczema affects approximately 20% of children in the UK, and symptoms typically appear within the first six months, however, they can develop at any age. As a parent, discovering your child has eczema can be concerning, especially if it is your first encounter with the condition or if eczema runs in your family.

Understanding potential triggers and factors that can impact eczema flare-ups, including the presence of pets, can be crucial in easing symptoms and providing the best care for your little one’s gentle skin. In this informative guide, we delve into the relationship between pets and childhood eczema, answering many frequently asked questions from parents and carers.

Pet Allergies and Eczema

Whether you love the idea of introducing a dog or cat to your home or already have a furry companion but fear they are contributing to the severity of your little one’s eczema symptoms, it’s essential to take the time to understand the factors that can influence flare-ups. By gaining a comprehensive understanding, parents can make informed decisions and take appropriate steps to minimise potential triggers and create a harmonious environment for their child and their beloved pets.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting many children worldwide. It is characterised by dry, itchy or inflamed skin. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms vary from person to person, but pet allergies can be a major concern. Allergens, such as pet dander (skin flakes), saliva, and urine, can trigger allergic reactions and eczema flare-ups in some children. It’s helpful to consult with your GP or an allergist to determine whether there is an association between your child’s eczema flare-ups and exposure to pet allergens.

Can Pets Cause Eczema Flare-ups?

The short answer is yes! Pets can potentially cause eczema flare-ups, and dander (tiny flakes of dead skin cells that animals shed) is a common trigger. The particles may contain allergenic proteins that, when inhaled – or come into contact with the skin – may trigger an allergic reaction, leading to an eczema flare-up. It’s important to keep in mind the development and severity of eczema can be influenced by various factors, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors and a weakened immune system.

How Will Your Pet Affect Your Childhood Eczema?

Apart from allergies, there are many other ways pets can indirectly impact eczema. Pets may introduce allergens into your home, such as pollen or dust, which can cause eczema flare-ups in susceptible individuals. Additionally, excessive licking or scratching from your pet may introduce bacteria to the skin, leading to skin infections that can worsen eczema symptoms.

Managing Eczema with Pets

If your child has eczema and you have pets at home, there are steps you can take to minimise any potential triggers and keep symptoms under control:

  • Maintain good pet hygiene, including regular bathing, brushing and grooming.
  • Keep pets out of the child’s bedroom and other areas where they spend a significant amount of time.
  • Vacuum and clean your home regularly to reduce pet dander and other allergens.
  • Wash your child’s bedding and stuffed toys frequently.
  • Consult with your healthcare provider to develop an appropriate treatment plan for managing your child’s eczema and any associated pet allergies.
  • Invest in HappySkin® clothing for your baby or child. The unique DreamSkin® polymer technology soothes, protects and treats dry, sensitive, eczema-prone skin.


Can Cats or Dogs Make Eczema Worse?

Cats and dogs are much-loved household pets, but many parents often wonder whether their presence can exacerbate eczema. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Not all children with eczema will be allergic to pets, and the impact of cats or dogs can vary from person to person. The key takeaway is that eczema is multifaceted, and identifying and addressing triggers – including those related to pets – can play a crucial role in minimising flare-ups and maintaining optimal skin health.

If you have a furry companion at home and suspect they are contributing to the severity of your little one’s eczema symptoms, or you’re looking at ways to minimise flare-ups as you contemplate becoming a cat or dog owner, HappySkin provides a unique line of polymer coated eczema clothing that can help alleviate eczema symptoms in your child. With clinically-tested DreamSkin® technology to soothe and reverse the effects of irritation, HappySkin garments encourage the skin to function naturally once again, thus alleviating the dry and itchy skin caused by eczema.

You can learn more about our children’s eczema clothing and how it works here, but if you have any questions or wish to speak with a member of our team about your child’s needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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