How to Keep Children Safe Around Pets
Did you know that 51% of dog bite victims are children? While dogs and cats are amazing pets to keep at home, they can pose an enormous danger to kids. Children are at risk of getting attacked by family pets for several reasons.
For one, they do not know how to read pets’ body language. It’s hard for the little ones to know if a pet has had enough fun and wants to be left alone. Pets generally get aggressive, frightened or anxious when approached inappropriately. According to this attorney, the number of pet inquiry claims are increased drastically in the last two years.
Considering that kids like playing with pets in a manner that the animals find hostile, there’s always the risk that the pet may respond aggressively. For example, pets don’t like being kissed and hugged. Unfortunately, most kids like doing it. Other pets may attack kids if they are over-excited, in pain or trapped. So, your kids need to be aware of such situations. As a responsible parent, you need to keep your children safe around family pets. Here’s a guide you can use.
There are eight tips to help keep your children safe around pets. In particular, check your pet’s history and learn pet body language. You also need to help your pet exercise, and set boundaries not only for your children, but also for your pets.
1. Check Your Pet’s Pet History
Some pet breeds are tolerant to kids and are normally playful. Others, unfortunately, are the direct opposite. They get angered easily and are likely to attack if mishandled or cornered. So, you should always ask or do a background check on the pet breeds you are intending to buy. In particular, there are a variety of dogs known to be dangerous breeds.
2. Teach Your Kids the Pet Body Language
Your children need to know how to distinguish a playful pet from an angry one. This should be detected from the pet’s body language. An angry pet, for example, displays the following signs:
- Lowers its head when approached
- Runs or walks away when approached
- Barks when approached directly
- Excessively pants when it sees a kid
- Freezes when approached
- Licks it lips in the absence of food
Conversely, a playful pet displays the following signs when approached:
- Lift its ears
- Loosely waves its tail
- Hold its head high
3. Walk Your Pet Regularly
Pets, more so family dogs, become hyperactive when they are caged for long hours. To prevent this from happening, they should interact with people to release excess energy. This is why it’s necessary to exercise them regularly. You and the kids only need to take the family animal for a walk around the neighborhood. It also helps to strengthen the bond between your kids and the pets.
4. Educate Your Kids on Safer Approach
Pets don’t want to be sneaked on or surprised. They can respond ferociously if you do. Your kids need to learn to approach them gently and quietly. If your pet has a name, your kids should learn to call it when approaching the pet. And while at it, they should approach the animal from the side. Some pets don’t like being approached directly in the direction of their faces.
5. Don’t Leave Your Kids and Pets Unattended
When you consider how to keep children safe around pets, it’s never fair for either the kids or family pets to be left unattended. You have to supervise them. When the kids play with the pets, make sure you watch the fun. If the pets or the kids are behaving inappropriately, you need to separate them fast. This step may seem obvious, but it’s important when dealing with some more aggressive pet breeds.
6. Set Boundaries for the Kids
Your kids should know what to do and what not to do when around family pets. For example, they should not interact intimately with the pets. This means no hugging, massaging or kissing the animal. It’s also a bad idea for your kids to rush up a pet. Additionally, you should observe these tips:
- Discourage your kids from strongly pulling pet’s tails
- Advise your kids against kicking or stoning family pets
- Remind your children not to bother a family pet when it’s sleeping or feeding
7. Set Boundaries for the Pets
It’s not just your kids who need boundaries but also your pets. The family animals need to know what to do and what not do when you speak to them. This means they should know your voice. For example, you should be able to stop a pet just by voice command.
8. Separate Them
Lastly, if you are afraid that your pets are too aggressive, especially dogs, it’s better to cage or leash them completely when the kids are at home. At least, this prevents them from coming into contact with your kids. At night and when the kids are in school, you can release the pets.
Your kids don’t have to live in fear when family pets are around. These little animals are generally great friends if treated right. Your kids need to know when to draw the safety lines, and it starts with using the above guide.