Saturday, 13 April 2013

Children and Animals

Growing up with animals is a great way to get children used to animals and ensure they are not scared of other animals they see out and about.  Having animals helps children learn about being responsible as you can get them involved with looking after the pet from an early age.  Here are some tips for how to get your children involved with some family pets.

Dogs

Most dogs will get along well with children if trained correctly so are a good family pet.  Children will love petting dogs and if you can get both the dog and the child used to the child grooming the dog then that is a good piece of responsibility for the child and a nice brush for the dog.  Children can also help with the simple task of pouring dog food into the bowl and changing the water.  Tasks like this help children’s memory as there are set jobs to do each day and gives them a feeling of responsibility.  When you are in the home or out and about the child can get involved with playing with the dog and their toys – throwing balls or playing tug of war are often favourites.

Cats

Sometimes cats can be more tetchy then dogs so the child’s level of involvement with a cat will very much depend on the cats temperament.  If they are an easy going animal then brushing the cat might be a task a child can do.  Playing with toys is also a good idea but perhaps for an older child as cats play with their claws out and a smaller child might not understand to move their hand away in time.  Again a child can help with feeding the cat, dishing out the cat food and ensuring that their water bowl is clean and full.

Smaller animals

If your pet is a hutch based creature like a rabbit, hamster or guinea pig then a child can most definitely get involved with helping clean out the cage and refilling with fresh bedding.  Putting down the right food and adding in little treats will also be fun for the child.  Stroking and learning to handle the animal correctly is important so ensure you take the time to show your child how to handle them as small creatures will easily break.

Larger animals

If you are a horse owner then children can still get involved in helping with the looking after of the horse, just less hands on especially the younger the child is.  Children can help make up the horse food, help clean out stables and fields and if your horse is well trusted they can help with simple grooming tasks.

The key is to know and understand both your pet and your child and always remove one if the situation starts going wrong or one gets jumpy.  Animals and children should be a good mix and it is important that we bring up the next generation respecting and loving animals.

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