Play is the common denominator between kids and pets. While they may have other things in common (like an enduring love of peanut butter, for example), the two sets are often jubilant, curious, and excited when in each other’s company. But this doesn’t mean everything is understood between them. Parents and pet owners have enormous responsibilities, and helping kids and pets have fun together – while remaining safe – is a pure joy.
To make sure your child plays safely with animals, teach basic principles of dog or cat body language. Understanding how animals perceive humans is also very helpful. For instance, large dogs should not be encouraged to wrestle on the ground with a young child. Play can turn aggressive quickly, and reducing the potential for accidental injury is a primary goal.