Kids & Pets – The Perfect Duo

It’s safe to say almost everyone at one time in their life has dreamt of having a pet. We would all close our eyes and imagine what it would be like to have that special bond and companionship in our life. For many of us, that dream has become a reality with 84.6 million homes claiming to have owned a pet in 2017 (APPA, 2017).

While most of us seek out companionship in pets, children especially gravitate towards our furry friends with curiosity, playfulness and love. But, for those of us with children and pets, how can we assure the safety for both? And for those who are considering, what are the benefits of having a pet around kids?


  • Pets teach children responsibility
    • Family pets depend on us for their needs. Children learn to care for them by feeding them, bathing them and cleaning up after them.
  • Pets show love and provide companionship
    • Pets are always there to lend an ear, provide comfort and can become their best friend.
  • Pets can calm and reduce stress and anxiety
    • Animals in general are used in many different capacities as therapy animals. Pets are considered a social support in the family and helps increase relaxation.

The list of benefits continues to grow, and research continues to validate the claims. However, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United states. At least half of those bitten are children, (AVMA). So how can you assure the safety of your children and the pets?

Before we get into the safety measure, we need to understand the reasoning behind the bite. Per the AVMA, Dogs bite for a variety of reasons, but most commonly as a reaction to something.  If the dog finds itself in a stressful situation, it may bite to defend itself or its territory. Dogs can bite because they are scared or have been startled. They can bite because they feel threatened. They can bite to protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, their food or a toy.

So how can you assure the safety of both pet and child?


  • Responsible pet parents
    • Family pets need to be socialized around children, strangers and other pets. Let them know what is acceptable behavior. Socialization is the act of introducing your family pet to all scenarios that may come up.
  • Responsible interaction
    • Children love pets, and in their mind, they want to run up and give them a huge hug and receive a big sloppy kiss. That’s totally fine if it’s their dog that has been properly trained. However, per the statistic above, that’s not the case. Children need to understand how to approach pets, understand the pets body language and to ask permission to pet other people’s furry friends.
      • Here’s a list of 10 helpful tips for parents to teach your kids to ensure a positive encounter with pets.

Today marks National Kids and Pets Day. Having a pet by the side of your kid will fill up their childhood with many great memories, adventures and love. It’s hard not to smile when we see kids and pets playing and cuddling together. The bond they form is like no other and can be a precious memory to many families. Pets can be the kids best friend and an intricate part of their childhood. It’s our responsibility as pet parents and mothers and fathers to our children to guarantee we provide safety for both.