PETS AND KIDS ARE ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT COMBINATIONS. The unconditional love from the pet and the return of affection from the child is unique. They can be play buddies, someone to tell your troubles to and/or a bed companion. There is the hope that the pet will teach some responsibility to the child also. The pet needs to be fed daily, bathed occasionally and they need attention too. Once the pet is trained to walk properly on a leash, it is fine outdoor exercise for the child and the pet. Cats can be trained to the leash too. We have even trained some to walk on a leash if they are staying awhile as boarders. Our veterinarian recommends reading some articles online that show the benefits of pet ownership. These articles will give you information on how calming petting a pet can be, how important a best friend is and even that being a little dirty may improve one’s immune system. Please check out this article from ‘The Bark’ magazine about how pet’s help children’s immune system http://thebark.com/content/dogs-help-bacteria-thrive
IF THE CHILD IS VERY YOUNG, YOU WILL HAVE TO TRAIN BOTH THE CHILD AND THE PET. Our Burbank veterinarian recommends a slow introduction for both and the parents will have to show a two year old how to pet and be nice. Young ones can be very grabby and tend to pound on the pet. The vet’s granddaughter had to be shown how to pet gently and ten he let the dog rest for awhile after each encounter. His daughter also bought new toys for the little girl to give to the dog and maybe throw for the pet when she was three or older. If the child is too noisy or chases the pet, you may find it hiding under the bed or high on the cat tree. Be careful, animals can scratch and even bite to protect themselves. This is especially true if the child sees a mother pet with her babies and wants to handle them.
RECOMMENDATION. Our veterinarian in Burbank also recommends that children come to the animal hospital and observe the pet getting an exam and vaccinations if they are interested. It shows that pets need care just like they receive at the pediatrician. Our vet will give them a tour of the hospital and let them see any other pets that are present. He gave little veterinary doctor kits to his grandchildren and they loved the bandages(especially the no chew day glow yellow ones) and the stethoscope and play with them a lot. Pets and kids just go together.