5 Essential Ways To Keep Kids and Pets Happy and Safe
Dogs and children…That’s putting two highly unpredictable species together. Most of the time, you’ll get cute results like this:
But sometimes, when these two unpredictable creatures have had enough of each other, one may lash out at the other and this is where the danger comes in. Sadly, it’s usually our dogs who start seeing red, then bite or attack our kids. As fur parents, you may be confused about how sweet ‘ol Lala could have bitten their human sibling. These type of attacks may have completely caught you off guard as you couldn’t think of a single reason your good-natured dog suddenly turned aggressive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old are involved in almost half of the estimated 800,000 dog bites per year. Anyone of these kids could be our very own! What’s worse, our pets get the brunt of it; often sent to shelters and estranged from people they care for.
Before such a tragic event occurs, let’s make sure we teach our children ways to ensure they’re safe while playing with our furkids. If you have young children and pets or thinking of bringing a new member to the family, here are five ways to prevent dog bites and attacks.
1. Teach Kids To Respect Pets
You have to admit kids are darn cute when they play with our pets. But from a dog’s point of view, all that kicking, screaming and throwing things around can get very annoying. Don’t we get irritated when someone suddenly shoves his hand into our food? How would you feel if someone suddenly jumps on you while you’re sleeping? Try pinching someone or getting into their face several times in a minute. You’re likely to get punched!
We teach our children to respect each other, even their little brothers and sisters. But we also have to remind them that pets are to be treated with the same respect and kindness as members of the family. Let children understand how important it is to be polite, kind and respectful when playing with our furry pals.
2. Don’t Take Canine Stress and Anxiety For Granted
When humans get depressed, stressed or anxious, we usually don’t want to be bothered. Some deal with depression and anxiety in positive ways like getting creative or going on an online shopping spree. Canines get anxious and stressed when they’re left alone, introduced to new surroundings, or feel trapped. They’re also stressed with loud noises such as fireworks.
Dog bites and attacks occur when fur parents fail to recognize that their pets are getting stressed. Signs of canine anxiety include chewing everything in sight, barking non-stop and showing aggression especially towards people (including children) and animals that they’re not familiar with. If you’re planning a party at home, make sure to keep your pets comfortable as well. Keep them away from loud noise, or put them in a private place away from the clamor and wandering hands of visiting children.
3. Take Time To Introduce New Members Of The Family
Whether it’s a new pup or a human child, our furkids also need to be introduced to new faces. When it comes to introducing humans to your trusty four-legged companion, preparation is the key. Just like our human kids, our dogs may not understand why walks are limited and who is this smelly new human everyone is fawning over.
A fur parents’ tendency is to spend more time with the dogs before the baby comes and this is a huge mistake. Your pooch will come to expect the longer-than-usual walks and possibly resent that time spent with the new baby. Set proper expectations and boundaries such as introducing baby items and setting up a nursery limit.
4. Don’t Leave Pets and Kids Unsupervised
If you’re like us, we trust our furkids. It’s also hardly surprising if we leave our children in the same room with them, then go off to another room to do the laundry, wash the dishes or just take a quick break. We know the benefits of letting children play with dogs as this can boost their social skills. But even a simple “follow the leader” game or tight hug can mean as aggression to a dog. Children may pinch them, scold or scream at them and it’s too stressful for our poor furkids. They may even take Rover’s favorite treat and that’s a huge no-no!
Make sure to keep an eye on your children and never leave the room without them in tow. No matter how much we trust our pooch, human kids can get on their nerves and in turn, cause them to attack the kiddos if provoked.
5. Give Your Pets a Private Place
Privacy is just as important to canines as it is to humans. Crates, for instance, are like their safe spaces where they can rest and sleep comfortably. We like to retreat to our bedrooms when we’re feeling anxious, need to be alone or want to be away from the noise.
If you have a big household, it’s best to keep your pets’ private place separate from the noise and chatter. This is also to prevent young children from sneaking up on a sleeping dog. If you have toddlers, make sure to put safety gates to keep them away from your furkid’s “bedroom”.
The Bottom Line
Our furkids teach our human children a lot of things such as social skills, being responsible, understanding, respectful and kind. There’s so much happiness when there are dogs and children in the house. Teaching our children the importance of safety around pets not only protects them but our furkids as well.
We’ve heard of so many tragic stories of children getting attacked simply because we failed to set up safety precautions. These stories often lead to our pooches being sent to shelters, sometimes ending in tragedy as some have to be euthanized. We don’t want any of this happening to both our human children and furkids. We hope this blog post will spread awareness on the importance of keeping our children and furkids safe and happy.