25 November 2019

How to teach children to be kind and safe around animals

Children are curious; they want to explore and touch new things. Most animals are naturally wary of children as they can be loud and unpredictable.  By following these tips, we can help you create a safe and harmonious household.

Boy playing with dog in garden.

Try to teach children from a young age to respect animals, make sure they understand that they are living creatures that have feelings just like them. Tell them that animals can feel sad, scared, happy and that they get hungry and thirsty just like people.  Lead by example and show children how to behave around animals by being a good role model for them to copy, only treat your pet and animals you meet out and about the way you want your child to treat them, for example: approach strange dogs with caution and ask owners if it is ok to talk to their dog before doing so.

Tell your child about an animal’s body language and reiterate it as often as you can so it becomes second nature to them. Saying things like “Look how Kitty’s tail has gone all big and fluffy, that means she is worried and upset so let’s leave her to calm down” or “Look at Rover’s tail wagging! That means he is happy to play with us”

Show your child how to approach an animal safely and how this differs for dogs and cats and ensure that your child understands never to interfere with a dog or cat when they are eating, drinking, sleeping or going to the toilet.

Children should not be allowed to engage in rough play with an animal and should be discouraged from hugging or kissing pets as this can be very intrusive for them.

Make sure your pet has somewhere safe and quiet they can go to if they need a break and teach your child not to approach the animal when they go to this “den”

Perhaps most importantly of all the tips – ALWAYS SUPERVISE. Never leave your child unattended with any animal.

If you would like more information on this then please call one of our Registered Veterinary Nurses on the Scratch and Patch Careline.

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