Animal Safety Tips
Your child and your pet can be the best of friends, if they both know and follow safety rules.
Animals make great friends and playmates, but children — especially those under age 5 — require a great deal of supervision. Whether you own a pet or are simply around animals, here are tips to keep kids protected:
- Children should not be left alone or allowed to sleep with an animal.
- Ensure that you and your child always wash hands with soap and water after handling pets.
- Teach your child not to pull on the ears and tail of animals, or pinch, squeeze, or make loud noises. He should never disturb a dog while it is resting, sleeping, eating, or playing with a favorite toy.
- Teach your child to never approach strange dogs or animals. He should never reach through a fence to pet a dog.
- Don't allow your pets to lick your child's face or any cuts or scratches.
- Gradually increase your child's responsibility for pet care, but remember you remain the number-one caregiver.
- Mistreating an animal — tugging a tail or playing too rough — usually stems from curiosity or exuberance. Be sure to safeguard your animal's welfare and help your child understand the animal's needs.
- Plan carefully for a new pet so you can commit to caring for it throughout its lifetime. Unfortunately, pets given to shelters are most likely to come from families with kids.
- Learn all you can about the training, feeding, and care of your pet by reading books or pamphlets from your vet or by watching videos.