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Safety Rules for Kids and Pets

Children and pets can share a home safely without causing injury to each other, but it’s important to start teaching your kids about pet safety from an early age. When your child knows how to play, pet, groom, and interact with your pet safely, you can significantly lower the risk of an injury occurring. Here are some safety rules kids can follow when they live in a home with pets:

Be Gentle & Kind

Make sure your child knows to treat pets–and all other animals–with kindness. Demonstrate to them how to pet a cat or dog with an open hand, gently, and while avoiding the tail, ears, paws, and rear end. Let your child know that they should never grab, tug, or pull at the pet, especially its tail, ears, and legs. Tell your child that they should avoid sudden movements, yelling, approaching the pet from behind or sneaking up on it, and trying to pick it up and drag it.

Know When to Leave a Pet Alone

You can also teach your child that there are certain times a pet should be left alone, for everyone’s safety. Show your child how to tell if a pet is angry, defensive, hurt, or scared by showing him videos or pictures online so he understands pet body language. Explain that a pet should never be disturbed while it is eating, sleeping, chewing on a toy, in its crate, or hurt. 

Never Approach Another Pet Without Permission

Another important safety rule for kids and pets is that your child should never approach someone else’s pet without permission. If your child sees a cat, dog, or other animal outside, just let it be and don’t approach it. If you encounter someone’s pet in a safe space, such as when it is leashed, you can instruct your child to ask if it’s okay to pet it.

If there is an accident or injury between your child and your pet, you should bring your pet to a veterinary hospital for treatment. A veterinarian can evaluate his injuries and determine how serious they are.