Bringing an animal home to become a member of your family is certainly an exciting time. However, you want to be careful when your new cat or dog first meets your kids. Here are a few of our best tips on how to introduce new pets to children in a way that fosters a bond from the very start.
Have Plenty of Space
Animals that have not previously been around the energy and excitement of kids can sometimes get stressed or anxious during that first meeting. To keep aggressive behavior from happening, make sure you have plenty of space. This keeps your pet from feeling closed in and trapped.
For example, you could start by taking your new dog on a walk or playing inside a fenced backyard. With a cat, you can still introduce everyone indoors, but just make sure you have a large area like a living room. This gives everyone the space they need to get used to each other safely and calmly.
Teach Gentle Petting & Monitor the Situation
This tends to be more common with younger children, but sometimes kids can get a little rough with their new pet when they are excited. To keep this from happening, always monitor interactions between your little one and the new cat or dog. Teach them to use gentle strokes and to watch the animal’s response to touch. If it is something that is not getting a good reaction, make sure they learn to stop immediately.
Also, reiterate the basics of being around an animal. Ensure your children know to never pull whiskers or tails, and to keep their faces away from your pet’s to help keep bites from happening. You should also reiterate to never abruptly walk up to or bother an animal while they are sleeping or eating.
Let Children Be Involved in Care
Older children can help form a bond with their new pet by being involved in care. Allow them to fill up food and water bowls, give treats, and handle gentle brushing and grooming tasks. This builds trust between the animal and the child that will only grow throughout time.
Play is also another important aspect that can help when a new animal is introduced to the home. Let your kids take their new dog on walks or chase a tennis ball. As long as things don’t get too rough, this is a great way to help everyone bond.
How to Introduce New Pets to Children
Adding a new canine or feline companion to the family can be exciting. By following the tips we’ve mentioned here, you can help ensure it is a safe and happy time for everyone.