A Rough Guide to Kids and Pets
Source: Best Friends
Birth to six months: A quiet time for the animal/child interaction.
No small child
should be left unsupervised with an animal.
Six months to a year: Keep pet food and feeding areas away from
crawling and toddling children. A child of this age will grab at
whatever is in his or her path, so ears and tails are a target,
and children have to be carefully supervised around animals to avert
any unexpected reactions.
1–3 years: A time of exploration and for putting things
in the mouth. A dog or cat
who is possessive about his or her toys and food can be potentially
dangerous to a
child. The child is eye level with a medium to large dog, and dogs
can see that as a
threat. This age group is especially vulnerable to a biting dog.
4–6 years: By now, a child has mastered quite a lot of language
and can understand more about how to interact with another living
being, but a firm eye on the situation is still needed.
6–10 years: Your child can now help look after a pet –
feeding, cleaning up, walking,
and playing with a cat or dog or any other animal in the house.
Teens: Just a warning about this group. At some point in the teen
years, your child
may develop other priorities in his or her life, such as sports,
band, boys, girls, existential philosophy, or shopping. Pet care
chores can suddenly and dramatically go onto the back burner. Parental
supervision is a must.
18–20 years: Many kids will be going away to college or joining
the military. You
need to be ready for the likelihood that taking care of the animals
will revert back to
the adults or other children in the family.