Fear of Pets: Tips to Help Kids Overcome Their Fear

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May 11, 2014
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Sometimes animals scare kids. Dogs come bounding at them with great enthusiasm and knock them down. Cats get excited playing and accidentally scratch them. Kids don’t always understand how to interact with dogs and cats and the little nips and scratches can seem like hostility or aggression.

Help your child understand the family pet is a friend

  1. Don’t force your child to interact with your pet. Let your child, on her own, want to hang out and interact with the family pet. If you force it, it can increase your child’s anxiety.
  2. Try to keep your dog or cat calm when around your child and vice versa.
  3. Read read read. There are hundreds of books and stories for children where animals are the heroes, best friends, and coolest superhero! Stories can help ease anxiety.
  4. Ask your child to practice petting on a stuffed animal. Show your child how to pet gently and safely. Teach them how to pet with slow calming strokes. Calm petting usually keeps your pet from getting hyper.
  5. Set play dates with intervals. Once your child is ready and relaxed, it may be time to set up little intervals of play time. Supervise them and make sure neither one gets out of control. Keep it to small doses at first and try to make sure each play date ends on a positive note for your child and your furry friend.
  6. Have more tips? Let us know!

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