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Is Dog Hair Safe For Newborns? A Pediatrician Weighs In

My husband and I lovingly refer to our home as The Funny Farm, and it is aptly named because we have two cats and two beagles — in addition to a 1-year-old baby. The number of "four-leggers" still outnumber the "two-leggers," and we love it. However, as you can imagine, there is a lot of hair. And I mean, a lot. Understandably, we were a bit nervous about bringing our son home from the hospital to all these critters. Obviously we were worried about how the animals would respond to him, but also, is dog hair safe for newborns? Would our son have an allergic reaction? I mean, we vacuumed and swept before we went to the hospital, but of course it will still accumulate since I can literally vacuum one minute, and then see a dog and cat hair tumbleweed rolling through the living room barely even an hour later. Beagles and cats shed a lot, y’all. And my husband and I have a lot of thick hair, too, so that definitely doesn’t help.

But anyway, back to dog hair. According to Dr. Daniel Ganjian, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, thankfully, “The presence of dogs in the home has actually been shown to decrease the chances of developing allergies in children.” And newborns don’t already have allergies right out of the womb — they have to develop over time. “Usually these allergies develop by age 3 to 5 years old,” Ganjian tells Romper in an email interview. In fact, “studies have shown that kids who grow up on farms with animals have less allergies and asthma. Some moms are purposely exposing their children to sheepskin blankets in an effort to thwart the development of allergens and asthma,” he says. Additionally, Ganjian adds that there should be no problem with dog fur on your baby’s skin.

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But he does have one warning: “Do not allow your child to purposely eat dog hair, because a hairball can develop in the intestines and cause it to get clogged — a problem known as a bezoar,” Ganjian says. “Also never leave your child unattended next to a dog, even your own family dog. Many dog bites happen from a familiar dog and children are the most common victims.” This seems far more dangerous than some dog hair and is definitely sound advice.

So as far as allergies go, your newborn should be safe — and has an even better chance of fending off developing allergies in the future — if they come in contact with dog hair. Your time will be better spent making sure you introduce your baby the right way to your current furry family members and ensuring they aren’t alone with your baby, even for a moment. Even the sweetest dogs can sometimes get spooked by a tiny human who makes unbelievably loud sounds and sudden movements. Also, when they’re older, be sure to get out that Swiffer to pick up any loose tumbleweeds so they don’t ingest too much hair at once, because that could definitely be a problem. (Plus it's super gross.)