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Socializing pets and children — creating lifelong friendships

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Even if you don't have children in your home, it's a good idea for your pet to get used to being around kids, because typically it will happen at some point. While it's generally easier to socialize a puppy, dogs and cats of any age can be trained to behave properly when children are around. The most important thing to remember is always supervise your pet when it is interacting with children.

 

Even if you don't have children in your home, it's a good idea for your pet to get used to being around kids, because typically it will happen at some point. While it's generally easier to socialize a puppy, dogs and cats of any age can be trained to behave properly when children are around. The most important thing to remember is always supervise your pet when it is interacting with children.

To help your pet socialize with children, find ways to safely introduce children to your pet. Whether it's taking your dog to a park or pet-friendly store, or having the children of friends or family members to your house to meet your cat, providing opportunities for you pet to be introducted to different sorts of people--especially children--will help them be at ease and feel less stress when you have visitors.

It's also very important to teach children how to interact safely with pets. Children should be shown how to treat pets gently, with kindness and respect. Some basic rules to teach children are:  

  • Always ask permission before petting someone else's dog
     
  • Approach the pet slowly and quietly
     
  • Do not pick up the pet
     
  • Let the dog or cat sniff a closed fist, then pet gently on the side of the head
     
  • Leave the dog or cat alone if he's eating, sleeping or chewing a toy
     
  • If you have children, consider reading a book with them about how to properly treat and care for your pet. 

 

Teaching pets and children how to interact with one another can be rewarding for your pet, as well as an important lesson for children. 

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