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Children and Dog Care

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Children and dog care can go together. Because your children will probably spend the most time with your new dog, it’s important to teach them how to take care of the dog. Here are a few dog care tips for kids:

Make sure you remember to give the dog food and fresh water each day.

Explain that dogs, especially puppies, need nutrition each day for energy and proper growth. If you have an outside dog, it’s especially important that the water dish is changed everyday. Standing water is abreeding place for mosquitoes. Also, dirt can get flung into the dish.

Supervise small children when they deal with this responsibility. Sometimes smaller children are too eager to help. Explain that you don’t feed dogs certain foods such as sweets because they can make the dog sick.

Be N-I-C-E to your dog.

Children and dog care for younger children, particularly under the age of four is important, as they have a tendency to be rough with animals. Pulling tails and ears just comes naturally. You may not know your new dog’s temperament or how he may react to your child’s curiosity. Lead by example. Show your child how to be kind to animals. Show how to gently pet the dog on the head or back and explain that hitting or pulling can hurt the dog.

Exercise is important for your dog.

Healthy dogs must move around and play. If the dog is not overpowering, let your child walk the dog with a leash. Another fun activity for exercise is fetch. Let your child throw a ball or stick for the pet to chase.

Don’t leave things lying around.

Puppies love to chew on whatever they can sink their teeth into. If they see your daughter’s favorite dolly or your son’s tennis shoe on the floor, puppies usually dive right in. Tell your child that your puppy is too young to understand, and that until he gets older, be extra careful about leaving things lying around.

Keep bathroom doors shut.

Dogs are notorious for drinking from the toilet bowl. Reduce the temptation by teaching your child to keep bathroom doors shut.

Indoor dogs need to have potty breaks outside.

Keep a schedule of bathroom breaks for your dog. Remind your child that if the new dog doesn’t have the scheduled potty breaks, then he may find a place in the house.

Make a dog care chart for your children.

If you child has problems remembering to feed the pet or take it out for breaks, make a chart of things to do each day. Let your child check off each completed chore, and the chores will become easier to remember.

Children don’t always see the bigger picture of taking care of a new dog, but with your guidance, children and dog care can go together. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility. Applaud your kids when they take on responsibility and follow through with it. This will give them confidence to mature and take on more responsibility as they get older.

Updated: May 20, 2013 — 5:20 am

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