There are numerous benefits to having a family pet. Whether it’s a cat, dog, frog, etc., adopting a pet increases self-esteem in your child, teaches nurturing skills and creates a loving bond that will bring joy to your entire family. However, before you bring a new furry member into the family, it’s important that your child knows how to interact with your pet.
Below are a few tips that will ensure your child and pet have a happy, healthy relationship.
- Make sure your child knows that loud noises or sudden movements will startle the animal, which could cause an unknown reaction. Tugging or pulling at any animal is never acceptable, and your child should be taught to approach the animal from the front in a gentle manner.
- Never leave your child unsupervised with an animal. Even if you trust your pet and your child, accidents happen.
- Keep your child away from a dog or cat’s waste. Animal waste can carry disease, which is easily transferable to your child. Small children are often intrigued by animal waste, especially a cat’s litter box, which resembles a sandbox.
- Any time your pet is excitable, for example when they are eating or interested in something outdoors, he or she should be left alone. During this time, an animal is more likely to react unexpectedly.
- Your child should be taught what is needed to care for a pet. Have him or her help out with feeding, bathing and walking your pet. It’s also important a dog is exercised regularly, which your child can help out with as well.
Having a family pet is a truly remarkable experience, but children must be taught that animals have feelings too and they should be treated with respect. When treated properly, a pet will offer years of companionship and joy to your family.
For more information on family safety, helpful health tips and up-to-date medical information, check back in on the Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care blog regularly.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.