New Pet

How to Introduce a New Pet to Kids

By Odie Blog Editors on February 25, 2022

We have all heard the loving stories of how a new pet becomes a valuable member of the family and the joys of introducing your kids to your new furry friend. It’s highly important to teach your children the love, respect, and responsibility that comes with raising a pet. The bond that comes with being a pet parent is like no other because your pet will hold a special place in all of your hearts. Unfortunately, some pets can react in an unfriendly manner or even bite when they are uncomfortable. This is why it’s essential to proceed with caution when introducing a new pet to the family.

Here’s how to introduce a new pet to kids:

Teach your child how to gently pet animals 

Children love animals, but when they’re at a young age they don’t realize they may be pulling or tugging at your pet’s fur. Many children can unintentionally hurt pets which, unfortunately, results in bites or aggressive behavior. It’s important to properly teach your children how to interact with pets so you can avoid these unpleasant situations. 

Calmly approach your pet

The best way to start the introduction is by letting your child slowly and calmly approach your new pet from the side. It’s important to stop before reaching your pet so that there is enough room for your pet to willingly come to your child. This ensures that your pet can watch your child’s approach without feeling overwhelmed while also being able to greet your child in their own time. Some experts even recommend using a leash or commands for the first introduction. It can be beneficial to use a leash so that you can easily control the situation if things get too wild. 

Avoid using treats or toys

Many pets can get overly excited by the sight and smell of treats and can be too rough snatching it from your child’s fingers. It’s also important to avoid using toys because your pet could become territorial over the chew toy or even start roughhousing. This could leave a bad impression on your little one.

Let your pet sniff

Before allowing your child to pet your new furry friend, let your pet sniff around you and your child. Pet’s use their sense of smell to help them identify who you are and your intentions. Stand still while allowing your furry friend to sniff, but remember to avoid offering your hand to smell or shoving it in your pet’s face. Let your new pet come to you and sniff as they please. Many young children will want to initially hug and squeeze your new furry friend, but it’s important to remain calm.

Don’t interrupt your pet when it’s eating

It’s very important that your child doesn’t interrupt your pet while it’s eating or even sleeping. Your pet could easily get startled by this situation which could lead to aggressive behavior. Tell your child to give your pet space while they’re eating and sleeping and you can do introductions later.

Never leave your child and pet unattended

Never leave your child and pet unattended. Even the most well-behaved pets can bite when their fur is pulled. In order to protect your child and pet in this situation, it’s best to supervise when they interact. 

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