Teaching Pet Safety to Kids

When pets and children live in the same household, playtime is inevitable. You should, however, make sure your children know how to respect animals, play safely and gently, and avoid antagonizing pets. This can significantly reduce the risk of your pets or children getting seriously injured. Here’s a quick guide to teaching pet safety to kids.

Always Supervise Play

Make sure you always supervise playtime between your child and the pet. Let your child know that he shouldn’t approach the pet from behind, make loud noises or yell at the pet, grab at it or try to pick it up, or pull at its legs, tail, or ears. Your child also shouldn’t try to take toys out of the pet’s mouth.

Teach Your Child to Be Gentle

You can demonstrate gentle play and show your child how to safely and comfortably pet your cat or dog. Tell your child not to play tug of war with the pet, especially if you don’t fully know the pet’s behavioral history, the pet is young and excitable, or the pet is larger than your child. Tell your child not to hit or kick the pet or try to make it do something it doesn’t want to.

Watch Out for Warning Signs

Finally, make sure your child can recognize warning signs that an animal wants to be left alone. Show your child pictures or videos of animals that are scared, angry, or aggressive, so they know that if your pet displays that behavior, they should leave it alone and come find you. Your child should never try to touch a pet that is eating, sleeping, caring for its young, chewing on a toy, in its crate, or injured. 

If your pet has suffered an injury during play with your child, take your pet to the emergency veterinary hospital. A veterinarian can determine the extent of the injury and get your pet back to health.

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