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Children and Pets
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Supervision is Essential
for Success

Even if your child is gentle with your pet and your pet is calm with your child, it is important to supervise interaction at all times.
It only takes seconds for a child to be injured by a pet that has been accidentally startled or hurt.

Dog Bite Prevention
There are resources available through the American Veterinary Medical Association, is targeted and tested for children 3-6 years old. It is designed to help parents and children safely interact with dogs both inside and outside their home.

Children and Pets

Keeping the peace when your family grows

An addition to the family can feel threatening to a child or pet. Before the new baby or pet arrives, it is important to prepare the family for changes. Some simple steps can make the introduction a calm and successful experience. Setting rules, modeling appropriate behavior and vigilant supervision can help make child/pet interactions safer.

Tips for Baby's Homecoming

Bringing a New Pet Home

• Introduce the pet to scents associated with the new baby
Allow your pet to gently explore the nursery before the baby comes home
Baby gate or close the door of the nursery so your pet understands they don't have free access to this room
After birth a family member should take a piece of the baby's clothing or blanket for the pet to smell before the first introduction.
The homecoming should be a quiet, calm event.
The first introduction should be supervised and brief.
Someone familiar to the pet should hold them during the first introduction.
Reassure your pet when the baby cries to alleviate anxiety
Never leave the baby and pet together unsupervised

• Choose a quiet, low traffic area for your new pet's sleeping and eating space
Set rules for your children's interactions with the pet
Children should not have free access to the new pet's sleeping and eating areas.
All child/pet interactions should be supervised at all times.
Limit child/pet interactions for the first few months

Young Children

Getting Along

Children ages 5-9 are at greater risk of being bitten by a dog than any other demographic group and most bites occur during an everyday interaction with a pet that is familiar. It is extremely important to teach toddlers how to safely interact with pets before they reach the at-risk age of 5-9.

Triggers that may startle a pet, or make them feel defensive or threatened:
• Sudden movements or high-pitched noises
• Roughhousing during play
• Bothering a pet when they are sleeping or eating
• Pulling or biting a pet's ears or tail
• Chasing a pet into a confined space
• Trying to take a toy away from the pet, regardless of whether it is the pet's toy or the child's toy

• Set rules and model appropriate behavior for your child
Teach your pet how to behave. Get them used to having things removed from their mouth and teach them not to guard food or toys.
Consider taking an obedience class with your dog.
Teach your child when and how to approach an unfamiliar dog
Always supervise pet and child interactions