It’s no secret that when children and pets get together, it can be a very positive experience for both of them. However, there are some things to keep in mind, so everyone is happy and safe. As a parent, your child’s safety is your responsibility, so here are some tips from your Lincoln animal clinic to let everyone have a good time!
- Never leave your child unsupervised with a pet. From dogs and cats to hamsters and reptiles, there should always be an adult assisting in these interactions for both the child’s and pet’s safety. It only takes a split second for a dangerous moment to evolve. Remember, any pet (even the friendliest ones you know) can and will bite or scratch if they feel threatened or hurt. Don’t let a playful situation turn into a painful one.
- For dogs, teach them basic behavioral commands (sit, lay down, leave it, etc.), so they are well controlled at home. This will keep them from accidentally knocking over a wobbly toddler or eating something they shouldn’t. Your Lincoln animal clinic suggests enrolling them in an obedience course that your child can attend and help with as well.
- Be especially mindful of your kids around food bowls, toys, and beds. Some dogs can be possessive of these items and might attack. Never allow your child to pet any animal during feeding time. Do allow them to help with tasks like filling the food bowl.
- Teach your child how to act around pets. Show them nice ways to pet and interact with them. Discourage pulling/tugging and screaming. Your pets are not a playground, so don’t let your kids do whatever they want to them. Any violent behavior towards your pet or child should be immediately corrected. These moments are great for teaching children about empathy and companionship.
- Generally, cats will try to run away from situations they are uncomfortable with. Teach your child to let them go, don’t try to chase them or corner them as this is when cats will lash out.
- There are many great activities that can help kids and pets strengthen their bond in a safe way. Taking walks as a family with the dog or cat can be lots of fun! If your pet is more into calm, stationary activity, try reading a story with the pet next to you and your child. Older kids can enjoy learning about training and behavior more in-depth.
Pets are a great way for your child to learn about the world, so make sure there are plenty of happy times for them to build lasting memories. If you have any more questions about children and pet interactions, please call your Lincoln animal clinic!