DCP with pets - couple of questions — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

DCP with pets - couple of questions

Is a licensed daycare center allowed to have a pet? Do they need to notify parents when they get one or is it just parents know as it comes up? I know some of the in-home daycares do and that they have to have updated vaccinations on record. I'm furious with daycare at the moment. They have a guinea pig and I can't seem to find any other parents in our age range that knew about it (the older kids can obviously talk about it so those parents know). I didn't miss any notes because the children's names are written on them so if you are absent the note is saved until you return. There's nothing on the website about the pet. And I am petty sure the rodent wasn't there when we started. And there is nothing in our booklet of rules that says anything about pets. What should I do about this? Report it to state? I've already told daycare that LO is not to be allowed into that room for now.

And before someone just says to get over it...I am seriously allergic to guinea pigs. I can only be in the room for 5 minutes tops IF there is a HEPA air filter running and even then I am on asthma medications for at least a month afterwards and allergy meds out the wazoo. Touching them is something I won't even consider anymore. The last time I tried, I ended up doped on benadryl to try to control some swelling (the guinea pig clawed his way to my neck before I could get him off) and then I was in my doctor's office getting an emergency breathing treatment (the doctor was closer than the ER and my mom called on the way in so they were waiting in the lobby with it). My brother is even worse. He had so much sudden allergy congestion that it couldn't drain out. He had not-quite-emergency surgery to keep the sinus cavities from bursting into his brain's cavity after only three weeks of being near the rodent.

I really don't mind exposing LO to new animals (we've met all of the dog's a puppies that live in our complex) but I do want to know when she meets a new species because I want to watch for the allergies, especially when there is a strong family history reacting to that one species. The front desk says LO hasn't seen the guinea pig yet but I'm wondering now because my asthma returned this week after years of being off medicines with not even a hint of a wheeze (except during the end of pregnancy but who didn't have trouble breathing towards the end...). I seriously didn't even have my medications anymore because they all expired and I got rid of them years ago. If LO had hair/dander on her shirt then all my snuggling/lovey time with her after daycare would transfer the hair to my clothes which would trigger my asthma. I'm pissed because now I am forking out the money to renew my prescriptions (two controllers, one emergency, one allergy meds). 

Re: DCP with pets - couple of questions

  • I know here they are allowed pets our DC just got a new puppy so now there are three dogs and a cat.  Unless they KNEW you couldn't be around it and LO couldn't I have no idea why they wouldn't be able to have a rodent.  Sees normal to me to have small pets they are usually good for kids.
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  • While I do think DCP should have informed you, I think you're getting more upset than necessary. I completely understand your POV, and I wouldn't want LO around the animal either, but I'm sure the DCP didn't even think about it being an issue. I have never heard of a guinea pig allergy before and I bet all they thought was that it would be a nice introductory animal for little kids (they are great for little ones). It's not like you told them LO was severely allergic and then they went out and got one anyway. You're the parent of one child in the center, and you will never come in contact with the animal. If you were allergic to peanuts would you have them totally ban all foods with peanuts just because you might come into secondary contact? 

    What if LO's future teachers have classroom pets (often guinea pigs)? Will you demand the animal be removed because of your allergy even if LO isn't remotely affected? 

    I think you need to either suck it up and just keep reminding them that LO needs to stay away from the animal, or switch daycare centers and explain the situation to them when you enroll. Or go on your allergy meds and accept that guinea pigs aren't going to disappear off the face of the earth to suit your needs. 

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  • I taught the 2nd grade before SAH.  I would never have even thought that someone would/could be allergic to a rodent.  I'm sure if you let them know, they'd remove the pet.  I wouldn't go in to talk to them all fired up and crazy.  I'm sure they'd feel bad and glady remove it.
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  • A. I'm also severely allergic to guniea pigs, so I understand a little.

    B. You are freaking out and IMO, overreacting a little. They didn't do this in an effort to hurt you or LO, they are trying to provide a variety of experiences for kids.  That's good.

    C.  Try going to your state website,then finding childcare licensing and regulation links.  Once you pull that up it can tell you what the procedure for animals in the center is and how they should approach it.  In my state, animals are fine. I don't know about how they handle allergies. 

  • I still think it's a terrible idea for classrooms to have pets. Animals are not learning experiences- they are living, breathing creatures who get fed crap, are manhandled by overeager children, and get ignored on evenings and weekends or else get shuffled from home to home. What a great life.

    I would be angry about ANY classroom pet (except maybe fish) regardless if I was allergic or not.

  • both of dd's daycares have had pets (dogs and cats) but they have their own areas AWAY from the kids and are fully update on vaxs. there were no surprises (i saw the animals when i toured them) and we've got 2 dogs at our house anyways so it's not like dd doesn't know how to act around them.

    if dcp got a new 'pet' like a guinea pig, i wouldn't demand to know about it. small animals bring alot to a learning environment (my mom's preschool had 2 gerbils every year and the kids were FASCINATED by them).

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