Teaching Children Pet Safety Rules

First and foremost, make sure your children understand that a pet is a living creature to be cared for and respected. Animals have needs and feelings, and they rely on us, their caretakers, for companionship and loving care. To help form this relationship, get children involved with caring for your new companion with age appropriate activities, such as feeding, playing with toys and gentle petting. Supervise pets and children at all times and never leave them alone together. Accidents happen even with the most trustworthy children and pets.

Here are some handy tips to help your pets and children have a safe and happy relationship:

  • Always pet an animal gently, with no pulling or tugging, and never from behind
  • Remind children to use their “inside” voice when interacting with pets, no shouting or screaming
  • Tell children to avoid contact with a cat’s waste, which can transfer disease. Young children are especially tempted to reach into the cat’s litter box; it looks like a mini-sandbox! Take steps to ensure that they don’t have easy access to litter boxes by using gates or cat doors if needed
  • Cat toys are especially tempting to young children because they have jingle bells and vibrant colors. Be sure to keep these out of reach when you’re not there to supervise as they can present a choking hazard.