3 Ways To Help Your Kids Establish Safe Boundaries Around Animals

Girl with Dog

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Girl with Dog

For the most part, kids have a fascination with the world around them. However, while they may enjoy looking at the puppies at the pet store or petting the neighbor’s cat when it wanders into the yard, it is important to establish rules for pet care. This is because what may look like a friendly or cuddly creature could cause serious harm with little to no warning. What can parents or caregivers do to ensure that children can interact with animals without getting hurt?

Teach Children How To Read An Animal’s Body Language

In many cases, animals will give warning signs that they don’t want to be approached or touched. Dogs may growl or show their teeth when they are annoyed or feel threatened. Cats may hiss, bat or nip gently before clawing or biting at an intruder. Children should learn that they should always approach an animal on its terms by allowing it to sniff the child or otherwise get used to its presence from afar.

When an animal is ready to be pet, accept food or otherwise interact with a child, it will make the first approach. It may also be good to explain that animals may use similar types of signals to express a variety of emotions. For instance, a dog wearing a dog backpack may wag its tail because it is nervous or use a mock growl during play. Understanding how to interpret these signals can prevent a child from being too excited or get too scared while interacting with an animal.

Children Should Never Approach A Strange Animal

A child should never assume that a cat, dog or any other animal is friendly unless they have interacted with it before. This is because an animal that is roaming the streets could be aggressive or carry a disease like rabies. Nervous or scared animals may also bite or otherwise attack a child out of fear.

There is also the possibility that an animal may not be traveling alone. In most cases, a child is going to be no match for a pack of coyotes or a large group of feral cats or dogs that have no fear of humans. Even if an attack doesn’t seem serious, it only takes one or two untreated scratches or bites to cause infections that lead to serious injury or death.

Children Should Follow The Rules While At A Zoo Or Animal Park

Some parents choose to take their children to specific events, like these activities in Las Vegas, to help their children grow accustomed to and be educated about animals. Professional animal handlers will be able to talk more about a variety of creatures including snakes, monkeys or gorillas. It may even be possible to pet a baby goat or hold a starfish in your hand.

While guided tours and interactive stations may be fun and exciting, there are many rules that your child should be taught to respect and follow. For instance, no one should ever attempt to climb over a gate or wall that separates a walking path from an enclosure.

Kids should also make sure that they don’t tease or harass the animals as it could make them upset. By following these rules, a child of any age can enjoy nature while doing so in a safe and controlled environment. In addition to staying safe, acting in a respectful manner allows others to enjoy the experience as well.

Animals can make great companions while teaching children how to care about something other than themselves. However, it is important for kids to understand how to properly interact with them. By respecting an animal’s space and habitat, a child significantly reduces his or her odds of getting hurt.