These days most families own a pet before having children. Pets can become jealous after the arrival of a newborn, which may result in aggression towards the baby. Even the most placid of pets can become aggressive, so always ensure your child is supervised around them.
Always remember to give your pet extra attention and allow it to interact with your baby. Introduce them to each other slowly and only for short periods of time. Never leave your baby alone with a pet unsupervised. Teach your child to respect and understand your pet’s personal space, this way she/he will enjoy and experience many wonderful moments and memories of pleasure with their family pet.
Teach your child to:
- Be calm and walk slowly up to and away from animals. Too much noise can make a pet uneasy.
- Understand your pets’ angry signals, i.e. showing their teeth, ears back, barking, standing out, growling, hissing etc.
- Alway be gentle while petting or handling the pet.
- Always wash your hands after petting or handling the pet.
Teach your child to avoid:
- Pulling the tail, ears or feet of the pet.
- Throwing things or poking the pet.
- Teasing the pet.
- Disturbing the pet while sleeping, chewing or eating something.
- Run away or up to the pet.
- Treating the pet like a toy by prodding or poking it.
- Approaching or trying to interfere with two animals fighting.
The benefits of owning a pet:
- Providing life lessons.
- Fostering a sense of responsibility.
- Contributing to your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
- Encouraging the development of trusting relationships.
- Non-verbal communication.
- Compassion and empathy.
- Providing comfort.
- Safe recipients of secrets.