First, let me say I have two dogs and two kids, I am definitely pro-pet. They are the best at cleaning up food messes! Seriously, when I go to a friend’s house who has kids and no pets, I feel bad for the amount of time they have to spend cleaning up food crumbs.
But, it’s a delicate balance. Because animals are animals and kids are kids, and sometimes things can go horribly wrong. But here is my take on having pets when you have kids too.
Kids and Pets, What I’ve Learned
I have had pets my entire life. I can’t think of a time when we didn’t have a few dogs running around. And one point we had three dogs and about six cats. Even when I moved out on my own, I’ve had pets. My pets came first and then my babies.
And I can’t see myself without them in the future. Sure, it may be more manageable. But, boy oh boy, the way your pups greet you when you come home, no matter how short or long the time away, is amazing. I mean, all-of-the-feels.
Of course, pets don’t live forever. And having to put down a furry family member sucks. I mean sucks bad. I’ve had to do it many times. If you are not good at delivering sucky news or handling it yourself, take that into consideration. Telling your kiddos their pet has to be put down, is so hard. I mean nobody, likes seeing their babies sad and being the one who has to deliver the tragic news is a tough, tough job. But it’s not just the feely part of pet parenting, it’s pet safety.
Teaching Kids How to Be Smart Around Pets
When your pets get fed up. I have a Dachshund, and by nature, those little things can be quite moody. Teaching my eight-year-old to leave him alone when he doesn’t want to be messed with has been challenging. My son absolutely loves animals. But he takes it too far, and sometimes our pooch snaps at him. Which then breaks my son’s heart into a million pieces, and then he gets mad. But most of the time, they get along pretty well.
If you are thinking of getting a pet for your family, here are some excellent safety tips to follow.
- Never children alone with a pet or allow them to sleep with an animal.
- Be sure that you and your child always wash hands with soap and water after handling pets.
- Teach your child never tug on the ears and tail of animals, or pinch, squeeze, or make loud noises. They should never disturb a dog while it is resting, sleeping, eating, or playing with a favorite toy.
- Teach your child never to go up to strange dogs or animals. They should never reach through a fence to pet a dog.
- Never allow your pets to lick your child’s face or any cuts or scratches.
- Slowly increase your child’s responsibility for pet care, but remember you remain the number-one caregiver.
- Harming an animal like pulling on a tail or playing too harsh — usually comes from curiosity or enthusiasm. Be sure to safeguard your animal’s well-being and help your child understand the animal’s needs.
- Plan carefully for a new pet. It’s a commitment for the pets lifetime. Sadly, it’s usually pets coming from families with kids that end up in shelters.
- You can learn about the training, feeding, and care of your pet by reading books or pamphlets from your vet or by watching videos.