Top of the page
All pets, whether they are kept indoors or outside, should be in good health, show no evidence of disease, and be friendly toward children. The following suggestions benefit your pets and may also help protect young children from both illness and injury:
If you have a dog, train and prepare it for contact with children. Many dogs will try to dominate children because of their small size. Also, some children aren't well-behaved around animals. These things put children at risk for injury. To help prevent such problems with dogs and other pets, you can:footnote 1
Be especially careful when bringing a newborn home where a pet has enjoyed "only-child" status. Animals can become jealous, aggressive, and defensive about trying to protect their place in the family. Also, newborns don't act, smell, or sound human, which may confuse pets. The weak, high-pitched cry of newborns may also sound like prey to animals. Even a very loving, well-behaved pet can quickly transform into predator mode with a newborn.
Try the following to prepare your pet for sharing its home with an infant:footnote 1
Before the baby is born
After the baby is born
Children will likely encounter pets whether or not they have them in their own home. Teach your children how to approach animals, and set rules. For example:footnote 2, footnote 3
Also, teach children how to react if they are confronted with an aggressive pet. The following apply specifically to dogs, but some concepts can apply to other household pets:
Humane Society of the United States (2010). Introducing your pet and new baby. Available online: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_babies.html.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2012). Safety around animals. Available online: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Safety-Around-Animals.aspx.
Pickering LK, et al. (2008, reaffirmed 2011). Exposure to nontraditional pets at home and to animals in public settings: Risks to children. Pediatrics, 122(4): 876–886.
Current as of:
May 27, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope MD - PediatricsKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: May 27, 2020
John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Make an Appointment
Pay a Bill
For Medical Professionals
Graduate Medical Education
Nursing at WellSpan
Clinical Research Programs
Who We Are
Make a Donation
Connect With Us
Non-Discrimination Statement |
Aviso Contra la Discriminación
© WellSpan Health | Disclaimer & Policies