Having a pet can be so beneficial for children. It can help children develop compassion, teach them about responsibilities, and encourage nurturing abilities, like how to be gentle. Pets can also have health benefits for children, from emotional to social, and be a source of comfort for children during difficult times. If you grew up with a pet, you probably remember just how special having a pet can be.

April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, which celebrates the special bond between children and their pets. It’s also a good time to bring awareness about how to promote safety between children and their pets. Teaching your kids how to respect pets is essential for keeping both your children and your pet safe. Here are some tips on how to teach your children how to respect pets!

Teach Your Children About Boundaries

Establishing rules and boundaries is key when teaching your children how to respect your family pet. Pets have boundaries too, so we should do our best to respect them. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, you should work on setting boundaries and rules right from the start.

A good place to start is to teach your children not to touch your pet when they are eating, playing with their favorite toy, or sleeping. Most people don’t want to be bothered when they are sleeping, and many pets are the same.

Different pets have vastly different personalities, so learning your pet’s personality and knowing what behaviors bother them are key when establishing safe boundaries.

Teach Your Children to be Gentle

Another good rule to establish is for children to be gentle and calm around pets, especially if the dog or cat gets nervous easily. Toddlers and even older children can become very rowdy, which can be upsetting to a nervous pet.

Teaching your children how to properly interact with your pet is also important. Encourage your child to softly pet your dog or cat, and discourage them from hitting, biting, stepping on, or sitting on your pet. Pulling on the pet’s tail, ears, or hair is also a big no-no.

Teach Your Children How Animals Communicate

Making sure your children understand your pet’s body language is essential.Knowing how animals communicate can help prevent bad situations from occurring. Dogs and cats may communicate their displeasure or irritation through growling, hissing, yowling, barking, tail flicking, or baring teeth.

Teach Your Children the Difference Between Your Pet & Other Pets

Animals have different personalities with various dislikes and irritations. So it’s important for children to understand the difference between their pet and other people’s pets. Your dog or cat may tolerate certain things that cause other pets to feel threatened or irritated. For this reason, you should teach your children to never approach or try to pet an unfamiliar animal.

Even the most well-behaved children and pets can act out, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your children when they are with your pet. Teaching your children how to respect pets from the very start will help promote a safe and healthy relationship!