A fluffy white dog playing with its kids

Without a doubt, there’s a unique bond between kids and pets. From teaching empathy and social skills to encouraging physical activity, there are a number of ways pets can be good for children. In fact, most kids and their pets are best friends for life.

However, while kids and pets may be a natural match, that doesn’t mean you should leave them to their own devices. Accidents happen, even among the most well-behaved children and animals, so it’s important to take steps to ensure that all interactions are happy and safe.

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe

Be aware that all pets can bite – even the gentlest couch potato – if the circumstances are right. In the U.S., most dog bites happen to children. This is due to a variety of reasons. For example, children often don’t know how to interact safely with pets, and adults often don’t have the knowledge to stop interactions before they escalate. Some pets are also wary or even fearful of children, especially if this is their first experience being around them. As responsible pet owners and parents, there’s a lot we can do to keep everyone safe:

  • Select a pet after conducting careful research about the type of animal that best suits you and your family.
  • Teach your dog basic obedience commands using positive dog training techniques.
  • Socialize both dogs and cats.
  • Learn how to read your pet’s behavior, so you know when they’re agitated, anxious, or fearful.  
  • Supervise every interaction between kids and pets.
  • Give your pet a safe place where they can retreat for some quiet time when needed.
  • Pay attention to your pet’s health, and visit us regularly to prevent painful conditions that may make a bite more likely.

Pet Safety Tips for Kids

Children can be their pet’s best friend, but they also need to develop skills that allow them to navigate relationships with animals that are both strange and familiar. Here are a few safety tips for teaching kids about animals:

  • Teach kids to ask a pet’s owner before approaching or petting an animal.  
  • Teach kids not to approach any dog who’s tied up, behind a fence, or in a parked car.
  • Teach children how to gently touch dogs and cats, staying away from ears, tails, and other sensitive areas.
  • Keep indoor play calm and gentle.
  • Teach children not to approach any pet who’s sleeping, eating, caring for their young, or playing with toys.
  • Make sure children know and understand where their pet’s quiet place is located. Kids shouldn’t disturb their pet when they’re in this space.

By working together, we can help kids and pets develop a safe, fun relationship they’ll cherish for many years to come. A little knowledge and awareness goes a long way toward helping kids grow into animal lovers for life. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Parkside Animal Hospital.