All pets, whether they
are kept indoors or outside, should be in good health, show no evidence of
disease, and be friendly toward children. The following suggestions benefit
your pets and may also help protect young children from both illness and
you have a dog, train and prepare it for contact with children. Many dogs will
try to dominate children because of their small size. Also, some
children aren't well-behaved around animals. These factors put children at
risk for injury. The following suggestions can help prevent such problems. Some
of the suggestions may also work with other pets:1
Be especially careful when
bringing a newborn home where a pet has enjoyed "only child" status. Animals
can become jealous, aggressive, and defensive about trying to protect their
place in the family. Also, newborns don't act, smell, or sound human,
which may confuse pets. The weak, high-pitched cry of newborns may also sound
like prey to animals. Even a very loving, well-behaved pet can quickly
transform into predator mode with a newborn.
Try the following to
prepare your pet for sharing its home with an infant:1
Before the baby is born
After the baby is born
Children will likely encounter pets whether or not they have them in
their own home. Teach your children how to approach animals, and set rules for
your children to follow when they are around a pet:
Also, teach children how to react if they are confronted with
an aggressive pet. The following apply specifically to dogs, but some concepts
can apply to other household pets:
CitationsHumane Society of the United States (2010). Introducing your pet and new baby. Available online: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_babies.html.
January 9, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
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