Pets and Children
Bismarck Animal Clinic is expecting their 4th baby boy in December. That makes 4 baby boys in the past year and a half! Don’t drink our water 😉
With all these babies running and crawling around it’s a good time to talk about safety of children with pets and safety of pets around children.
Tips to keep children safe around pets:
- Educate children based on their age. We can’t expect young children to accurately be able to read a dog/cat’s body language. Be sure to focus on being gentle and that each pet has likes and dislikes.
- Pets should always have safe places to go that children are not allowed. This could be a bed or a crate. That way if they are tired or feeling overwhelmed with activity, they have somewhere to go and relax safely.
- Kids should be taught never to tease dogs by taking their toys, food/treats or by pretending to hit or kick. Pets should be left alone while eating or sleeping.
- Teach children not to pull on their ears, tails, or to climb on and try to take rides on dogs. Pictures of kids climbing and laying on pets sure are cute but they are dangerous.
- They should learn that if a pet wants to play they will come to them, if the pet leaves they are done and do not want to be pursued.
Tips to keep pets safe from children:
- When children become escape artists themselves they also may help pets escape. They may open doors or forget to close gates so keeping a close eye on exits and entrances are important.
- On the other hand children have also been known to tie things up on a short leash and leave them which can also be dangerous.
- One of the biggest things to watch out for is hair ties and rubber bands. Kids love to wrap them around muzzles, ears, or tails. This can cut off circulation and cause serious damage. Be sure to pet them in those areas, especially our really furry friends!
- The other way hair ties and rubber bands are dangerous is that they make fantastic obstructions within the stomach and intestines leading to emergency surgery.
- Be careful of what children feed pets so they are not giving them something that could be toxic, including some well-meaning kids that like to play veterinarian and give them medications.
- Another well-meaning child may want to play groomer but scissors are dangerous no matter how old when handling pets since they do not like to sit still and will wiggle exactly when trying to cut those long bangs (we’ve repaired many eyelid lacerations from just this situation).
- Once kids are older you may be having the drug talk with them. Including your pets in this talk is important because the stash they definitely do not have could land Fido in the hospital. This includes pills, cigarettes, marijuana, etc.
If you are worried about your pets’ behavior around your kids, be sure to make an appointment with a veterinarian to discuss this. We want to prevent any harm from coming to either one.
Parenting is hard and adding pets to the mix adds another level of chaos, so keep up the good work everyone! This includes Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and older siblings! OK, is it nap time yet?
Megan Visger, DVM