Kids and Pets: Safety Tips

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June 7, 2011
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Your kids and pets are probably great friends and play together a lot. Your cat or dog probably tolerates tugs and squishy hugs from your child more than having their ears and heart checked by the vet. But no matter how well they get along, there is always the chance someone could get hurt accidentally.

The following tips will help everyone safe:

1: Teach your child to read some of your pet’s body language and identify signs that your pet wants to be left alone.

2: Teach your child how to protect themselves if your hyper dog or a friend’s dog gets too rough. Such as rolling into a ball if the dog starts to get nippy and protecting their hands and face. Let them know they can always call for help.

3: Make sure your dog knows the commands, “Stop” and “No!” Teach your child how to firmly use those commands when playtime is getting too rough.

4: Keep pet toys and kid toys separate. Dogs may become possessive of a toy and become aggressive when having to “give it.” Some kid toys are choking hazards for dogs and cats. Try to keep pets out of your child’s room.

5: Let your child know that your pet’s bed, crate, or fenced off enclosure is their space where they should be left alone. It is your pet’s safe spot.

6: Teach your child how to ask your dog to sit, stay, come, and other commands. This helps your dog respect your child and understand that as much as they are buddies, your child is also a leader.

7: Do not allow your dog to jump up on anyone and modify this behavior if it’s a problem. Children can become hurt or scared.

8: Teach your child to play games with your cat that are safe like chasing a toy on a fishing line.

9: Teach your child to not grab, tug, or pull your cat’s ears, tail, or force a hug. Cats will become upset and try to get away and their claws can scratch your child. They may also bite if feeling threatened.

10: Teach your child that chasing the cat is never ok as it scares your cat and can break a bond and not reinforce one.

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