Pets can be great friends for children. However, they can also be a danger to your family. If children don’t understand how to play with a new pet there can be disastrous consequences. Whether it’s a new pet, or one that you already have, these tips will help with their relationship while keeping your children and your pet safe.
If a cat or dog does not want to be bothered, make sure your children know to leave them alone. Go over the signs and body language of your pet with your children.
Teach your children and pets to have a mutual respect for one another. Tell your children that the pet may not want to play and if they retreat to a bed or crate that you have chosen as their safe-spot, make sure your children know to leave the pet alone.
When your children and pet are first being introduced, play games that involve words and toys rather than physical contact. This way, if your child or pet gets overly excited, the risk of injury is reduced.
Some dogs may get excited when playing. Teach your child how to protect themselves from over excited dogs, such as calling for help and protecting your hands and face rather than running and screaming from a dog that’s chasing them.
Make sure your dog knows how to react to the word “stop” and practice with your child and pet together.
While playing with your pet and children together, if one gets upset, a short time-out will work for pets just like it works for children. Thirty to sixty seconds is long enough for a pet or one minute for every year of age for the child.
Not all animals are going to be as loving as yours. Explain this to your children and urge them to use caution when around other animals besides your own.
If your children have friends over, remember that your pet with view those friends as strangers and as potentially hostile. Make sure your pet has time to smell the friends and be put at ease about their presence.
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