Toddlers and PetsToddlers and pets are not a good combination which is why you should think twice before you get a dog or cat if you have a toddler in your house. Although children and animals are often best pals, they usually do not get along particularly well in the toddler age. Toddlers have the tendency to pull tails and treat animals like toys, not to mention that they like to “taste” things which may also involve pet food. Most pets, on the other hand, have their limits no matter how toddler-friendly they are. And when they had enough, they will bite or scratch.

But what if you already have a pet or an older kid who is begging you for a puppy every day? Well, with a proper approach, toddlers and pets can learn to live under the same roof without harming each other.

In order to keep everyone safe, be sure to:

Never leave your toddler with your pet alone. Most of all injuries and animal abuse happen when toddlers and pets are left unattended. You can have the most docile dog and the most abuse-tolerant cat in the world but they can easily be driven into a corner by your toddler’s firm grip.

Teach your child that pets are not toys and that they must not be treated as such. Toddlers want to do no harm but they simply do not have the feeling for animals if they are not taught how to behave and above all, how to treat an animal. Teach your child how to touch and hold the pet by providing an example and emphasize the word “gently”. Also, show him or her how to play with your pet safely such as throwing a ball.

Show your dog’s teeth or cat’s claws to your toddler. Your child must be aware that animals can be dangerous and that they may attack if they feel threatened.

Teach your child not to touch other people’s pets without asking for permission first. Just because your pet has a high level of tolerance for your “torturing” toddler that does not mean other pets are just as toddler-friendly. You are highly recommended to keep your toddler away from other people’s pets unless you are absolutely certain that they are safe.

Praise your toddler when being kind to your pet. Instead of reacting when your child is being too rough to your pet and ignoring good behavior, be sure to praise him or her when being kind to your pet. Also, be sure to praise your pet as well when showing affection to your child.

Immediately clean those poops in the yard and make sure that the litter box is out of reach to your toddler. It is completely normal for toddlers to be curious and to explore their surroundings but you do not want your child exploring your dog’s poops or the cat’s litter box. So do not postpone cleaning after your dog and make sure that the litter box is out of reach to your toddler. You are also highly recommended to take your pet to the vet on a regular basis to keep him parasite- and disease-free. It is in interest of both your toddler and pet.