Celebrating National Kids and Pets Day April 26 in support of the bond between pets and children, Pets Add Life (PAL), a campaign celebrating the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership, is sharing a few quick care and handling tips to consider when introducing kids to new furry pals.
- Gentle Hands – Teaching kids to be gentle is a huge contributor to the relationship they can have with a pet. Take the time to demonstrate the proper way to interact with animals, which is calmly (no loud noises) and with non-threatening hands, such as a low, closed fist or open palm for the animal to sniff and become familiar with. Kids should never tug on pets and should avoid their ears, eyes, and mouth when petting and playing.
- Approach With Caution – Whether kids are meeting a new pet at home or at a friend’s or neighbor’s house, it’s important to emphasize personal space and permission. Remind kids to stand at a safe distance and not crowd the animal with their faces or fingers, as new pets can often be scared and timid. Kids should also ask the owner for permission to pet an animal before approaching them.
- Calm Demeanor – Explain to kids that animals don’t share in excitement the way humans do, and that loud noises or quick movements can startle them, which can provoke an ill response such as biting or shying away. Animals can feel more at ease when humans act gentle, doting, and attentive, rather than surrounded by jumping and shouting.
- Warning Signs – Adults have an easier time judging when an animal simply isn’t comfortable. But when a small child can’t wait to pet or play with their new companion, they might be oblivious to warning signs. Most pets will approach an open palm with friendly curiosity, giving the ‘ok’ to be handled. If an animal turns their head, walks away, puts their ears back, cowers, hides their tail between their legs or shows teeth, it’s crucial for children to know that playtime is a no-no.
- Proper Care – Pets can serve as major stepping-stones in teaching children responsibilities. When welcoming a new pet to the family, encourage children to help care for them by feeding them daily; keeping bowls filled with fresh, clean water; grooming pets; cleaning up after them regularly; and providing pets with ample play.
Further promoting the bond between pets and children, Pets Add Life is pleased to host its Annual Children’s Poetry Contest, encouraging children in grades third through eighth to write and submit creative poems surrounding the joys and benefits pets have on their lives for a chance at winning top prizes. One winner is selected in each grade level and the 7th Annual Children’s Poetry Contest will return September 1, 2014. For more information, visit http://petsaddlife.org/childrens-poetry-contest.
Founded by The American Pet Products Association (APPA), the non-profit PAL campaign is designed to help people celebrate the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership and encourage increased pet adoption.
For more information on the PAL campaign, visit PetsAddLife.org or contact Brooke Gersich at 775-322-4022 or Brooke@theimpetusagency.com.
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA’s mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit www.americanpetproducts.org for more information.