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Celebrating National Kids & Pets Day
04/25/16 at 02:16 PM | Published Under Pet Socialization
As if you need more convincing that having pets around your home makes a positive impact on your children, National Kids & Pets Day will make April 26 a day of ultimate enlightenment.
Created in 2005, this special celebration of domestic dogs and cats is dedicated to furthering the magical bond between children and animals, elevating awareness of the plight of pets in shelters that are awaiting “new forever homes,” and educating the public about safety between children and pets.
According to Colleen Paige, National Kids & Pets Day founder, the future of our children and their ability to show compassion toward animals and each other depends on providing them the skills necessary to make the world a better, kinder place to live.
The responsibility that a child can learn from caring for a pet is vital in their social development. Children growing up with pets tend to be more compassionate and nurturing – eventually making them progress into dedicated and loving parents and pet owners themselves.
Celebrating National Kids & Pets Day in support of the bond between pets and children, Pets Add Life (PAL) offers these quick care and handling tips to consider when introducing kids to new furry pals.
Approach With Caution
Regardless of where your child is meeting a new pet, it’s important to emphasize personal space and permission. Encourage them to remain at a safe distance and not crowd the animal with their fingers or faces, since new pets are often scared and timid. Kids should always ask a dog or cat owner/caretaker for permission to pet it before approaching.
Take time to show your kids the proper, gentle way to interact with animals. This includes a having a calm demeanor, avoiding making loud noises and approaching in a non-threatening manner – such as a low, closed fist or open palm for the animal to sniff and become familiar with the scent. Also teach your kids that they should never tug on pets and should avoid their eyes, ears, and mouth when playing and petting. Dogs and cats feel more at ease when humans are acting gentle and attentive rather than making quick movements and loud noises.
When a child is eager to pet or play with a new companion, she might not notice a pet’s “warning signs.” Most pets will approach an open palm with friendly curiosity, giving the green light to be handled. If an animal puts his ears back, turns his head, cowers, walks away, shows teeth or hides his tail between his legs, children should learn to recognize that the pet DOES NOT want to play at that particular moment.
Pets can serve as a significant resource to teach children responsibility. When you’re welcoming a new cat or dog into the family, encourage your children to help care for this newest family member. Teach them the importance of feeding pets daily, keeping bowls filled with fresh water, grooming on a regular basis, cleaning up after them and interacting with plenty of playtime.
Make it a family affair! Be sure to celebrate National Kids & Pets Day on April 26 by providing an orphaned dog or cat with its new forever home. Your new four-legged family members will love you for it and your kids will too!