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We have had a pet (cat or dog) for as long as we have been married. Our cat we have had about 12 years and our oldest will turn 11 this year – so we have always had a pet in the home while our kids have been growing up. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that we decided to get another dog (the first one we had to part with when we moved from a house into an apartment). I was hesitant at first because our second oldest was deathly afraid of dogs. I have no idea where her fear came from, but it was there. When we got our dog, we got a 6 week old puppy (although labs are not tiny he was small) and we gave him to her for her birthday. It was an amazing experience for her, and over the last two years she has really learned to love him and isn’t so scared anymore. It was one of the best things we could have done. With that, I am going to share 5 ways to teach children to get along with pets because we have a cat and a dog and four kids . . . so I think it fits…
1. Make sure you get a pet that like kids
Some animals are not just very kid friendly. A few of the best breeds of dogs are labradors, bulldogs, beagles, collie, boxer, poodle, golden retrievers (this is what I had growing up). If you aren’t sure how the breed will react, go to a pet store or animal shelter and play around with some of them. You can also visit friends that may have a similar breed. I prefer getting a puppy so that you can raise it the way you want, but there are older dogs that have been well trained and can do really well.
2. Be patient and don’t expect perfection
Training can be a lot of work, but you need to have consistency and patience for both your children and the pet. My kids and their dog and their cat are best friends. My cat loves sleeping with my oldest on her bed snuggled up by her all night. Our dog is loving and sweet and is really good most of the time and my kids are really good with him most of the time.
3. Teach your kids respect for the animal
While you are training your dog or cat, you will also be training your kids. They will need to learn boundaries and rules when it comes to what they can and can’t do. No pulling on tails, putting fingers in the ears or eyes, sitting on them, carrying them around, pulling on their whiskers, etc. These things need to be taught early and reinforced. It is very important. If your child respects the animal, the animal should respect the child.
4. Have good food and snacks for your pet
If your pet is well fed then it makes a big difference in their attitude. Having a happy healthy animal is important so it is a good idea to make sure they are eating good natural food. Our go-to brand is IAMS because they offer formulas by life stage and common needs for both the pet and the pet parent. I love to pick it up at Target where I can also get treats, toys, and other necessities all in one place. Feed your pet the recommended amount every day and also incorporate treats into its training and make sure they have enough toys (especially your dogs) so that they don’t chew or scratch up things they aren’t supposed to.
5. Exercise and Play with your pets as often as possible
Pets – dogs especially – love to get out and go. They want to adventure and see the world so taking your dog on a walk everyday is important for both of you. It helps them get a lot of energy out and it also gives them a chance to learn and be trained about the rules of walking and being out in “public”. While you are out or when you get back, take time to play fetch with your dog, tug-a-war, or any number of other fun games. Cats love to play too, anything fuzzy or string like will become their favorite object and they will chase it around the house. Take time each day to play with them and show your kids how to do it so they can share that bond.
Helping your Pets and Children get along can be tricky, and it will take time, but it will be well worth it in the long run. I love that our pets are such an integral part of our family and my kids think of them as family too.
If you want to try out IAMS, Target has a great deal right now – especially with the Cartwheel Deals. You save 5-10% off just for having the cashier scan a barcode from the app on your phone at the register. Super easy – I was also able to print out coupons that helped me save even more! IAMS believes that the right diet can do amazing things for pets – and I completely agree with that. Some of the things that a good food can help with include boosting immunity, help burn fat, help maintain muscle, and help promote healthy digestion, aid in weight loss and reduce tartar buildup.
Check out the Target Cartwheel Deals here:
- 10% off IAMS dog food (includes both wet & dry) (Expires 7/25)
- 10% off IAMS cat dry food (Expires 7/11)
- 5% off IAMS wet cat food (Expires 7/11)
You can also check out IAMS on Facebook!
I love being a pet owner. It has taught us so much. What tips do you have for helping pet and kids get along?