Getting a new pet is exciting, but it can be a scary venture if you have kids by your side. Some kids dislike pets, and vice versa. There are many ways to introduce your kids to pets, but some ways are better than others. Here are some of the easiest ways to help your kids and pets get along together.
First Thing’s First
Before you even get your new fur baby, you have to consider which one you want to get. Sharon Moore, from Petcarers, has some options that are perfect for kids of all ages. “Which type of pet should you choose? Rabbits and guinea pigs are a great first pet. Generally low maintenance they can be cuddled, brushed, fed carrot sticks, listen to "secrets", and have funny little squeaks that amuse the littlies. Kittens and puppies require more work, and your children can help decide which might be better. An energetic, funny, playful kitten that can sleep up to 16 hours per day, tends to know how to use litter trays automatically and likes to sleep in the children's beds. A puppy will require more input from mum or dad. Puppy classes can help set them up for success from the start and give the family lots of great info. Toilet training is more work, and a few "oops" moments will happen. Puppies need plenty of play and walks which are great fun and will help keep children active.” You can find out more about Pet Carers by following them on Facebook.
If There’s A Different Bundle On the Way...
If you already have a pet, but you’re about to introduce a bundle of joy into your world, it can be a pretty devastating for your pet at home. Louise Moreland from Honey & Co. Club has some life-saving advice for those who are expecting a baby and need to prepare their fur baby for the news. “...take home a piece of clothing or muslin wrap from the hospital that the baby has been wrapped in, and introduce these new smells to your family [pet]. It really did help with the official introduction when baby came home and baby smelt 'less' foreign to our dog and was instantly accepted. Our child is now 4 years old and Honey the Labrador is her best friend.” You can find some amazing products and advice from Honey & Co Club, by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Prepare Your Home
You don’t want to come home with a new fur child and not have anywhere for it to sleep at night! Your new pet is probably scared and needs to get used to its surroundings, so if you have no place for it to be comfortable or feel safe, you may cause it some discomfort. Get them a bed and some toys, so they can relax and learn where to sleep. If they are being trained to sleep outside, don’t leave out in the cold. You should get a kennel for dogs, so they can feel safe and sound when they’re asleep at night. Making sure they feel safe and secure is a must for a new pet.
Take Things Slow
You should always remember that learning new things for both kids and animals take time. You should teach your kid about boundaries with the pet, such as not yanking their tail, patting them too hard, etc. You should also learn to control the pet. If you’ve got yourself a dog, make sure you keep them on a tight reign around your kid, so they know about boundaries. Your child’s safety comes first, so always make sure that you’re wary around the pet!
Don’t Leave Things To The Last Minute
Never just hope for the best when it comes to introducing pets and kids. Things take time, and sometimes your new babies may need a little extra space apart before they settle in. Carly Bowden from RSPCA's School For Dogs says ”Not leaving it until the last minute and hoping for the best. Lots of hard work is needed to ensure the safe introduction of a baby/child or dog into the household. Baby gates and playpens to give the animal their own space then gradual introductions to ensure it is a positive experience for both parties. Scrubbing up on basic obedience will also be beneficial, basic manners for the dog like mat training/crate training to ensure the dog is sitting calmly and not running around the house knocking children over.” You can find out more about School For Dogs by following them on Facebook.
Adding to your household is always a challenge, but dedicating time to the two new parties can make the home a safer and happier place!