ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to keep your child safe around pets and animals

Updated on August 28, 2012

Children are ingrained to love animals. They are the main characters of bedtime stories, movies and cartoons. They are drawn to their soft fur or their playfulness. With this interest comes the need to teach your child how to approach animals and how to be respectful of the animal in order to keep the child and the animal safe. Many babies are born into homes that already have pets, so by starting young, you will be able to start good habits at home. Here are a few tips to get started on pet & child safety in your home.

Approaching an animal

A child should always approach an animal quietly and with a calm demeanor so they do not startle the animal. For example, have your child gently approach your dog. Allow the dog to sniff her hands and let the animal welcome her attention. The child should never reach for the dog's face or muzzle, but softly pet the animal's back. Never let a child approach a strange animal without the owner's permission; this includes reaching through a fence or cage to pet a restrained animal. Children should keep their faces and hands away from the animal's face. Remind children not to yell, scream, or shout at animals. Try to help them understand how they would be upset if someone just ran up to them shouting and trying to touch them. Correct your child if she tries to pull the animal's limbs, tail, or ears.

Let your child help with pet care

Many animals become aggressive when food is put out, so make sure your pet's feeding space is clear of crawling babies or roaming children. Once your child is old enough to help out and while under adult supervision, let her fill food or water dishes. Teaching your child to care for her pet will create a bonding experience for them both. If you have a dog, take your dog and child on walks together. As she gets older, teach her how to properly hold the leash. Let your child tag along on trips to the veterinarian; help her understand that your pet has to go to the doctor for check ups just like her.

Make sure your pets are up to date on their shots, as well as heart worm, flea and tick prevention medication. Avoid using flea collars and sprays because they can irritate sensitive noses and lungs of your pet and your child.

Take your pet and child to a pet-friendly store to pick out treats and toys. Making them feel included will help your child love and appreciate her pet. Show her that with love and respect, we allow animals to be extensions of our families. They deserve to be just as comfortable and protected as the other members of the family.

Show safe play methods

Children should not taunt or tease any animal; this includes while playing with their own pet and the pet's toys. Playing fetch means you or the child throws the toy and the pet retrieves it. You repeat this until the animal is no longer interested. This doesn't mean take the toy and hide it, or take the toy and put it out of the animal's reach. You don't want your pet to jump, nip, growl, or bite at your child, so don't give them a reason to.

Gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, and other small creatures can enjoy toys in their cages or enjoy being held and running up the child's hands. Make sure your child knows how to pick them up gently and not to squeeze them.

Specialty pets like snakes, lizards, turtles, and birds require more supervision, and children should be taught how to care and respect these creatures just like you would with a dog or cat.

Use common sense

You are the adult, and you must be the example for your children. Teach them good habits around your pets, and back up your guidance with action. You know the temperament of your pet and can guide your child on how to interact with the animal.

If you find that you have an extremely aggressive pet that just does not get along with your kids, you will need to seek professional help for training and socialization.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)