Pets around Babies and Preschoolers

The many benefits of having a pet as part of the family home have been documented widely.  Studies have shown that dogs help children's self-esteem, can make them feel safe, and help them learn empathy and responsibility.

Living with a dog also has many health benefits; for example, children who spend the first year of their life exposed to animals have shown a lower risk of developing allergies and asthma as they grow older.Cats can also be wonderful pets, as they don’t require as much care as a dog to remain healthy and happy, and can be a source of cuddles and affection. However, if you are a Parent of a toddler and a pet, there are several risks you need to be aware of.

Risks to consider - Pets and Toddlers

Medicine in Baby vomit: Many dogs love milk and jump at the chance for any mishaps that they see as opportunities. However, if your baby has been teething, your baby’s vomit might also contain panadol or nurofen - which is toxic for pets.

Toddlers opening doors or windows: If Toddlers are able to open windows or doors, Pets are at risk of escaping the property and being hit by a car.

Hitting and Fur pulling or squeezing: Toddlers don’t yet understand their actions and that hitting, fur pulling or squeezing is painful and can lead to broken bones or be fatal for pets.

No longer the centre of attention: this can lead to depression or jealousy, which can lead to growling or biting or even peeing or defecating in an unusual spot in order to feel noticed again.

Personal space invaded: Babies might want to play with the pet’s food, water, or litter

Intestinal Obstructions: from eating things like crayons being left around.

Routine disruption: Pets need walks, every single day, with a new arrival in the house, your pets may not be walked as much. Walking helps pets relieve stress and if its no longer occurring serotonin (relaxation) is not being created.  Pets wee mats or kitty litter trays may also not be as refreshed as frequently due to tiredness and distraction of the toddler on the Parents.


So as the Parent of a Toddler and a Pet, what can you do?

Here are 5 tips to make the transition of owning a pet and being a parent a little easier:

  1. If you own a dog, hire a Dog Walker for a schedule of daily walks Monday to Friday to help your dog relieve some of their stress and get some sniffing enrichment. Sites like PetCloud enable you to hire a dog walker for a tiny $36 an hour.  Keeping your home germ-free, and smelling fresh by  requesting for some extra services such as backyard poo patrol or kitty litter changes will also encourage pets to keep up their routine of toileting in the right spot.
  2. Keep a soft flannelette dribble cloth nearby to quickly mop up milk spews.
  3. Teach your pet the command ‘Leave it!”
  4. Buy a play pen for your toddler to put some boundaries in place and ask your baby sitter to set it up with some padded play mats and interactive toys for your toddler.
  5. Hire a Babysitter to give you some time out for some self-care once a week, and to give your pets some time out.  Sites like KiddoApp make the process of hiring an available Babysitter quick and easy.

This article was provided by Deb Webber, founder of PetCloud - Australia’s most trusted national Pet Care Service network with 5 star reviews and thousands of Pet Carers ready to care for your pet in loving homes.