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Before we had kids, we had Tex. Our first child, albeit a canine one. He went EVERYWHERE with us, from road trips to trips to the grocery store, where he would sit up front waiting for me to return with a treat. Life has certainly changed with the addition of four kids (without tails, in case you were wondering), but Tex still has a central place in our lives and certainly a LOT more love.
Tex and I got to relive his time as an only child at an outing to PetSmart to try Purina® Pro Plan®. This dog food fueled the last 8 out of 8 Westminster Best in Show Champions, so he was feeling fancy. We probably have no hopes there, but since Purina® Pro Plan® carefully chooses its ingredients we know when my almost-two-year-old eats dog food, she is getting nutrition. (JUST KIDDING. We try—not always successfully—to keep the kids eating kid food and the dog eating dog food.) Tex certainly enjoyed it, probably because the first ingredient is his favorite ingredient: meat.
As a parent to a dog and children, I am pretty vigilant about guidelines with kid/pet relations. A BIG rule is not to mess with Tex when he’s eating. When I was two, I messed with a family friend’s dog while he was eating (after being asked not to) and he bit me. Tex has NEVER bitten anyone and is not possessive about food, but good habits start at home so we are very careful about this.
Sometimes people without dogs don’t realize the things that might be important to teach their kids. And sometimes dog owners (like us) with great dogs take for granted that ALL dogs will be equally great. Whether your kids are around dogs every day or almost never, here are some tips to teach your children how to act wisely around dogs.
Teaching Your Kids Dog Safety
A few things to keep in mind if you encounter a dog at a park or at another person’s home:
Do not run. This applies whether it’s toward the dog or away from the dog.
Ask the owner if you can pet the dog. If there’s no owner, don’t approach the dog. If the owner says no, trust their instinct.
Let the dog sniff your hand. Reach out with palm up and stop a few inches away to let the dog sniff you.
Don’t reach for the top of the head with your palm down. Pet the back (with, not against, the fur) and neck, but avoid the tail, ears, top of head, mouth, and feet. Keep your face away from the dog’s face.
Don’t mess with dogs while they are eating. Dogs can become possessive about food and may bite to protect their food.
Chill, baby. Don’t be wild. Dogs can be excitable like children and get all riled up if the kids get riled up. This makes it harder for the owner to control and also could mean that a dog might jump or nip from excitement.
Service dogs are working, so let them work. Look for a harness or cape with a sign designating a particular service. Petting them disrupts the job they are doing. (This is also a great teachable moment for kids about disabilities and special needs!)
If two dogs are playing or fighting, stay back! Let the owners handle this kind of situation.
What tips do YOU have for kid & pet interactions? Have you had a good or bad experience to share? Click here to download a free printable for Teaching Kids Pet Safety.
As a bonus for you, you can visit the Purina® Pro Plan® MyPLAN website to get your dog’s MyPLAN recommendation and a rebate offer for a free bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog Food (4-6lbs, up to $18.99.) Good only in U.S.A. A.P.O’s, F.P.O’s. Void where taxed, prohibited, restricted. Allow 6-8 weeks for shipment. LIMIT ONE REQUEST PER INDIVIDUAL, ADDRESS, or EMAIL ADDRESS. Offer expires 04/30/2015. See Full Terms.