There’s nothing quite as special as the bond between a child and the family pet. For many of us, days spent playing and snuggling with a pet are some of our fondest memories from childhood. Pets are friends, playmates, and confidants to kids everywhere, and there’s no doubt that both kids and pets benefit greatly.
Animal lover, mother, author, and lifestyle expert Colleen Paige sought to honor the extraordinary relationship between children and animals by creating National Kids and Pets Day in 2005. This special day, celebrated on April 26th this year, is meant to honor this bond, educated pet owners on safety issues regarding kids and pets, and increase awareness of the plight of the millions of homeless pets in the United States.
Keeping Kids Safe
Every year, thousands of children are injured, or worse, by a family pet. When a pet bites a child, it can turn the entire household upside down. Family members are often confused as to how a pet they trusted could have done such a thing.
Oftentimes, animals that lash out at humans are doing so out of a self-protection instinct, rather than true aggression. Teaching our kids how to be safe around pets is a vitally important component to harmonious living with kids and pets:
- Never leave a young child alone with a pet. Do not allow children and pets to play together unsupervised.
- Make sure your kids understand and respect your pet’s boundaries and understand his or her body language; don’t allow them to get near pets during times of high excitement, such as mealtimes, and make sure they know to walk away when it’s clear the pet does not want any more attention.
- Do not allow children to climb on or corner a pet.
- Teach children to never approach an unfamiliar animal without permission from you and from the animal’s owner.
- When meeting an unfamiliar animal for the first time, teach your kids to offer their hand for sniffing first, and explain why this is important.
Keeping Pets Safe
Our responsibilities as pet owners extend beyond feeding, housing, and snuggling our pets. Keeping our pets safe improves their health and well being.
- ID’s please – For their own safety, pets should always be wearing a collar with current ID tags. If you have not had your pet microchipped yet, consider doing so, and keep microchips registered and up to date.
- Spay/neuter – Spaying or neutering your pet not only prevents unwanted litters, it can help with behavior problems and other health issues.
- Wellness – Regular wellness exams, vaccinations, and parasite preventive medications exams keep pets healthy and can even extend their lives.
- Comfort – Making your pet comfortable actually keeps them safer! Make sure your pet always has access to plenty of fresh water and a comfortable bed, and never leave him or her alone in a car or tied up in front of a building. Always provide adequate shelter from the elements when pets are outdoors.
- VitusVet app – Download the free VitusVet app and have your pet’s complete medical records as well as medications and dosages at your fingertips. Our app is great for traveling, the groomer, kennel, and for sharing between family members and other caregivers. The reminders tool allows you to set up alerts for medications and appointments so you’ll never forget an important pet care task. Likewise, having older children and teens download the app can help to remind them of their pet-related chores and responsibilities, too.
Kids And Pets
By keeping our kids and pets safe, we are not only nurturing their relationship with one another, we are raising kids who will one day become animal lovers themselves, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate National Kids And Pets Day than that.