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You may not have your own pets, but at some point you and your children are likely to come into contact with other people's pets. Even if you don't own a dog or cat, here are a few ground rules to set out for your children to ensure they are safe and calm around other people's animals.
- Don't encourage small children, not familiar with animals, to handle pets by themselves without supervision
- Don't allow them to hit or shout at an animal. Teach them respect and show them how to speak to the animals in a calm and sensible voice.
- Don't allow children to disturb dogs or cats (or indeed any animals) when they are sleeping, feeding, or playing alone. Animals need quiet time too, so they should be left alone sometimes.
- Don't let animals lick children's faces (or indeed let children lick or kiss animals' faces.) Just think about what they lick to keep clean!
- Don't let children feed pets with their food ie. sweets, chocolate etc!
- Double check that the animals you visit have been wormed and checked over for fleas. It may be embarrassing to ask, but it's worth it to know for sure!
- Insist on washing children's hands ofter playing with or handling animals, especially if cleaning out cages!
- Show your child how to approach, speak to and address with animals. Don't just tell them... show them so they can see for themselves.
- Explain that animals may not want to do what the children want them to do and have an opinion of their own.