Gruesome stories of pets attacking children are rare. However, an exuberant pet or an annoyed dog can still cause some injury to little faces and fingers. Although, this is no reason to avoid pets at all costs. It’s better to teach your toddler how to handle pets. One way or another, your toddler will encounter pets, whether or not you have pets at home. So, it is important to pet-proof your toddler as early as possible.
Here are some rules that your toddler should know about pets:
• If dogs, cats or any other pets are sleeping or eating, leave them alone. Don’t go near them. And never touch their food. Even calm animals may strike back if they perceive any threats.
• Never poke an animal’s eyes.
• Don’t yank the pet’s tail or tug his ears.
• Show your toddler to stroke gently under the chin, not on top of the head (this can suggest superiority, and some animals may not take it kindly.)
• When meeting a new dog, show your toddler to offer the back of his hand for the dog to sniff before stroking or patting the dog.
• Don’t torment or harass an animal. For example, don’t offer a dog a bone then take it away when the dog tries to reach for it. If a dog is going for its bowl, don’t try to block its way. And most importantly, don’t pretend to strike or hit it.
• Stay away from fighting pets.
• Stay away from a dog or a cat that just had babies. New mothers will fight to protect their babies.
• Don’t go near animals without a grown-up.
• Don’t run towards an animal (of any species). Approach them slowly.
• Don’t try to ride dogs.
• Don’t run away when a dog growls or look angry. (If the toddler runs, the dog may chase it. Instead, teach your toddler drop on the ground, roll into a ball and cover her face with her arms.)
• If a dog is sick or behaving oddly, stay away from it. Although dogs in the UK don’t have rabies, it is still important for your toddler to learn to be cautious around strange dogs. Rabies is still rampant in many countries, and your toddler doesn’t know the difference about approaching dogs in the UK and dogs abroad when you are on holiday
• Teach your toddler not to put his face near an animal’s face. Cats can have sharp claws it can do a lot of injury.