Every pet owner understands how pets can enhance their lives and bring more love and joy into the home. However, if you have children, introducing them to an unfamiliar cat or dog might be intimidating for all parties involved. Even the most docile dog or cat can bring fear and tears to a small child’s eyes if the interaction is not handled properly. You have to make sure that the child understands how to properly approach the new pet. So, if you are bringing a new pet home, here are some helpful tips to introduce your kids to the newest member of the family.
Supervise The Interaction
It is never a good idea to leave babies or small children with a new pet. Kittens and some older cats tend to play rough as scratching and biting are the ways they interacted with their kitten siblings. Therefore, they may end up doing the same with a young child who unknowingly extends their hand. Puppies also need time to grow, learn, and develop good behavior through positive training tactics. So, you can teach your children how to properly approach a dog, read its body language and know how to appropriately pet them. Another general rule of thumb is to never leave a child under the age of 5 alone with a new pet. If you have older children, then they will need to demonstrate that they can be gentle and follow the rules before being left alone with the pet.
Let The Pet Approach The Child
Another initial step in making sure this introduction process goes smoothly is to allow your pet to approach the child, rather than the other way around. You can do this by having the child drop treats or have a toy in between them. Be sure, however, not to hand feed the pet as they either are not comfortable approaching just yet, or they could be too excited and accidentally pinch a few fingers while grabbing the treat.
Give Your Pet Time To Adjust
Anytime you introduce a pet to new surroundings, allowing it to feel secure and comfortable will take some time. Plus, a child’s excitement over the new furry friend might add to the initial stress. You might notice cats hiding in a closet or under a bed initially. Dogs can be a bit different and require more stimulation and new sights and sounds to properly adjust. As mentioned previously, you will want to supervise all interactions with a new dog to ensure no one gets hurt. Older dogs might require more training, so patience will be critical as you learn the character of the dog and how they react to people of all ages. So, make sure you give the pet time to adjust and make sure your children cooperate by leaving it alone until it is ready.
Bringing in a new pet and letting them adjust to its new environment, especially one that includes children is a process that must be taken care of delicately and properly to ensure the safety of the children and the pet. If you have any additional questions about how to introduce a new pet to your children, feel free to reach out to Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258!