Teach Kids to Safely Interact with Pets

 In Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital

Young children need to understand how important it is to be gentle with pets. Having meaningful interactions with family animals comes with experience and guidance. Here are a few tips you can use to help your little ones safely interact with your fur babies:

Teach them how to approach pets safely:

Cats and dogs can easily frighten when you approach them unexpectedly. When scared, it’s not unusual for a cat to scratch or a dog to bite. Teaching your children to be mindful of how they approach animals can prevent your pets from reacting in a harmful way. Remind youngsters to move slowly when they’re near your dog or cat, especially if the animal isn’t looking in their direction. They can hold out a closed hand and call your pet’s name to invite it to sniff and feel comfortable before getting attention.

Show them gentle behaviors:

Young children between babyhood and preschool age can be especially rough with family pets if they aren’t taught gentle ways to handle them. Your pup might not initially react to tail pulling or ear tugging, but he might get frustrated if it happens frequently. It’s crucial to show little ones how they should handle your family pet by modeling positive handling behaviors, like:

  • Keeping your face away from your pet’s face, which can cause anxiety in many animals
  • Giving gentle strokes to your pet’s back
  • Letting your pet stay on the ground instead of picking him

Give them responsibilities:

One of the best ways to teach kids to care for pets is to give them daily pet care tasks. You might have an older child take the dog on a walk each day. Young children can learn to provide fresh water and food to pets safely. Some kids can also help you bathe and groom pets, brush their teeth, and help you with training tasks. The more involved your kids are with the family fur babies, the more they’ll understand how best to care for them.

Want more tips for taking care of your pets? Check out the Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital blog, or contact us today to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian.