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Children and Pets: Playing it Safe

Although training and preparing your pets for a new arrival is important, there is no substitute for supervision. Even the most tolerant, kindest pet has its limits! Here are some tips to keep your children and your pets safe (from each other).

ALWAYS SUPERVISE! Many accidents are preventable, but this takes constant vigilance. Dogs often give warnings before a bite occurs. For example, when Ruby gets uncomfortable with a small visitor, she goes under the kitchen table. If a dog can’t get away from what is bothering it, what form of communication do they have left? If escape is not possible, growling, barking, snapping, or biting may be how your dog communicates its discomfort. If your dog is retreating from a child (or anyone), it’s time to intervene! Remove the person or remove the dog from the situation!

I have observed on multiple occasions parents allowing their children to clobber the family pet. My advice is to teach your children to handle pets gently. If you won’t let your children do it to another human being, don’t let them do it to your dog. Have clear boundaries set and stick to them!

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to supervise your children and pets at all times! If you aren’t there to intercede when your pet is showing signs of discomfort, both your children and your pets are at risk of serious injury and possibly death. If your pet already has some signs of aggression, even mild ones, seek the help of a qualified trainer. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pets don’t have any underlying medical issues (like pain) that can increase aggression. You can schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians to make sure your pet is good health by calling 573-875-3647.

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