Children and Pets: 5 Tips to Keep Both Safe

by Claire H. on August 15, 2017

Keeping Kids and Pets SafeChildren, by nature, are inquisitive and hands on. When it comes to pets, this isn’t always a good thing. Here are 5 tips I’ve found useful to assure the safety and happiness of both my kids and the pets they encounter.

1) Always ask the owner before petting. Sometimes while on walks we come across neighbors walking their dogs. The kids have learned to always ask, although we have yet to meet a dog they couldn’t pet.

2) Never get right in an animal’s face. Just like humans, pets have a “bubble” too. Getting right in their face can make them feel confronted, which could lead to them being scared or angry.

3) Practice petting gently with a stuffed animal. When my youngest was about to turn 1, our cat – Potatoe – decided that she was comfortable going near him. We encountered the problem of my son not realizing how hard he was “petting” her. We used a stuffed animal, as well as older siblings at times, to learn “pet nice.” We showed him how to pet, both softly and so it wasn’t rubbing the hair the wrong way.

4) Pay attention to when a pet is ready to be left alone. Even pets that enjoy playing with kids get tired after awhile, and it’s important that children acknowledge when they are done playing. Teaching kids to pay attention to things like body language is a good idea, as well as to not chase a pet once they walk away.

5) Use an inside voice, and try not to roughhouse. Yelling and/or screaming can scare or excite pets. The same goes for playing rough. In some cases they may feel threatened by it, and react negatively. Probably the hardest thing for my two youngest children is not yelling and screaming. Thankfully, they know now that it scares our cat, and they stop doing so when she is around.


Claire is a mom to three children. She has owned dogs and cats in the past, and currently has one calico cat named Potatoe. Although never owning them, she is very interested in reptiles, and has assisted friends in the past who owned a reptile store.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gil Roberts October 4, 2014 at 8:24 am

Love your post!

dog breeds October 13, 2014 at 1:23 am

This blog post is really nice and appreciate the efforts of blogger who has done such a great blog post. I found it interesting and worthy to be shared to let pet lovers know how to keep their pets and kids safe and happy.

Jul g December 27, 2014 at 8:47 am

I would also add – don’t let kids ride dogs as if they were horses! Dogs can end up with permanent spinal injuries. And always supervise children and pets when they are together, until you are absolutely sure your kids are mature enough to be left alone with the pet.

Sharon December 28, 2014 at 8:44 am

I work in a field where dog/cat bites get reported every day.
The one that really gets to me is when a child is bitten and nobody saw what happened.
When a child is visiting a home where there is a dog/cat there needs to be adult supervision at all times or the pets should be closed away from the playing children.

Laurie L. January 10, 2015 at 8:35 am

Our dog is a rescue with people issues. We know he was teased by kids & was never “socialized.” Some kids/people that come up during dog walks, he does not instinctively like. We never let those people pet him! He loves toddlers though. IF OUR DOGS’ BODY LANGUAGE SHOWS STRESS IN ANY WAY, WE SAY NO THE PETTING SESSION IMMEDIATELY.

Brigette September 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Great post! I see many times the way some parents allow their kids to just run up to someones dog and start petting it without permission of the owner. I work in a small business pet store and have to calmly tell young children to be gentle with the animals. I do not want to step on the parents toes, but there is always a risk of animal biting someone no matter how kind the animal is. I try to explain how animals can sense the excitement and it may scare them. Also by staying calm the animal will begin to feel comfortable with being held.

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