How safe is it to pair pets with children under the age of 14?
Most people acquiring a pet don’t give the question a lot of thought. Sometimes the acquisition is an impulse buy based on circumstance and pressure from the younger family members. Think Topsfield Fair and the rabbit exhibit — or the pet store iguana or bird purchase.
Nowadays it is easy to hit a button on the Internet and pay for a dog of a certain breed. Unfortunately, with each of these purchases you have likely just pumped $800 to $1,500 into the booming puppy mill industry.
Sometimes the family wanders into the pet adoption center not realizing how fast a certain dog or cat will seize their attention and pull their heartstrings. They come home with an unexpected dog or cat. Now that you have the pet how do you manage the kids’ interaction with the adored new member of the family?
It is best to plan ahead and do a little research if you are getting any type of pet. Find out what diseases the pet can carry and how likely it is to bite and under what circumstances. Also investigate how to house and train the pet. Even rabbits can deliver a good nip. An iguana delivered the worst bite I have seen at my practice over the past 11 years. However some iguanas live peaceably out and about their owners’ homes and are litter trained. Even chickens and reptiles can carry salmonella.
Most of us think about dog bites when we think children and pet safety. Almost 5 million people suffer bites from animals each year. Half of those are children younger than 12 years old and could be avoided
According to the National Canine Research Council, rates of medically attended nonfatal dog bites to children have been decreasing. The rate decreased from 26 bites per 10,000 children age 1 to 12 in 2001 to 20 bites per 10,000 children in 2011.
An important part of avoiding bites is the education of our children. The vast majority of dog bites occur in children 4 to 9 years of age with a larger percentage in young boys. Teaching your children some of the following guidelines could help to avoid a painful lesson and potentially save his or her life.
When faced with an unknown dog, or a dog whose behavior seems to be odd, Dr. Kersti Seksel, a board certified veterinarian and behaviorist from Australia, recommends the following: