Having a pet at home can be one of the best experiences in a kid's life. They bring so much love and joy to a home! However, before bringing a new pet home, it's important to prepare your kids and yourself, to ensure a happy home.
Here are a few tips that can make this new adjustment a good one:
1. Always supervise interaction between your kids and pets
Bringing a new dog or cat to a new environment can be scary for them, so while you continue to learn your new pet's personality, make sure to not leave babies or small kids alone with the new pet.
Cats can sometimes play rough. They're used to scratching and biting during playtime, as that's how they tend to interact with their siblings. So providing cats with scratching boards and a good amount of playtime can help decrease the odds of scratching you or your kids. It's also important that kids approach them gently and respectfully.
Dogs learn good behavior through training, so with some time and patience, your pup should learn how to properly treat his human siblings. However, from the very beginning, it's important to teach kids how to approach a dog properly and to pet respectfully.
2. Allow the pet to adjust
As mentioned before, a new environment can be a bit stressful for a pet, so allowing it to feel safe and comfortable can take a little time. It's suggested to keep kids out of the way of the pets until they are more settled in and they start to come around on their own.
3. Introducing pets
When a kid meets a new dog, move slowly. Start by allowing the dog to sniff the back of the kid's hand before petting him (this will allow the dog to know that he's not in danger). Once the dog looks comfortable, allow the kid to start petting the dog under the chin or around the chest and neck. Avoid at first sensitive areas like the legs, tail, head, and stomach.
When meeting a new cat, a kid should start by gently petting it when the kitty approaches him/her. Start by petting the head or back, and avoid sensitive areas like the legs, tail, and stomach. Cats can also get easily frightened by loud noises and sudden movements, so make sure kids speak softly and calmly to the cat.
4. Create New Rules for Pets and Kids
Bringing a new pet home comes with lots of responsibility. Kids need to understand that there are rules when it comes to their new dog or cat.
- They should understand when it's okay to play with them and when to leave them alone. A sleeping pet might get frightened and react abruptly when woken up unexpectedly. Kids should ask permission to interact with their kitty or doggie.
- There are lots of things at home that can be dangerous for pets, so make sure your kid knows not to give anything to their cat or dog unless you've given them the okay. Here are a few examples of things that can be dangerous.
When it comes to pets, training is key.
- Make sure to start training as soon as possible. Consistency and patience will help make things go more smoothly.
5. Look out for signs
Introducing new pets to kids tend to go smoothly, however, it's important to always keep a lookout for warning signs.
Whenever a dog starts to growl, it's ideal to intervene. Growling is how dogs communicate that they are uncomfortable or upset.
Cats also tend to hiss whenever they feel threatened. Their bodies also tend to get stiff, as a sign of discomfort.