Having a big family can be a lot of fun considering you develop strong social skills, and you’re never lonely. But pet parents on pet blogs agree that managing a household with multiple kids and pets can be quite challenging, especially if you lack a proper strategy and some organization.
Without establishing ground rules, something as heartwarming as having kids and several pets could become chaotic. Here’s everything you need to know about having a multi-pet household with kids and how you can create boundaries between the two.
Make Smart Pet Choices
In a household filled with pets and children, you want to ensure they’re compatible with each other from the start. Having a choice with what kinds of pups or felines you bring in the house, you should select the type of pets that can accommodate your family’s needs and limitations.
Do your research, especially if you’re thinking of adding furry or feathery animals to your home. Investigate how certain breeds or species get along with toddlers and be practical about the amount of work they’ll require.
For example, if your baby has a habit of crawling and placing different objects in its mouth, a canine that sheds their fur all over your house won’t suit your needs.
The pets you purchase should correspond to your family’s lifestyle as effortlessly as they can, especially ensuring that they don’t pose any danger to your home. Certain dog breeds are aggressive, and they hardly get along with kids, so make sure you don’t end up buying those species.
Introduce Them Properly
If you’re bringing your newborn home, take a piece of clothing, blanket, or even a soiled diaper for your furry friend to smell. This will help your pets become familiar with the baby.
You can also enter the house first to greet your pets, so they get settled before meeting your newborn. Contrary to dogs, felines have unpredictable personalities, so you should discourage them from approaching an infant initially.
Create Ample Space for Everyone
Whether it’s your kids or your pets, every family member should have their personal space to avoid getting into a fight. Your home should be able to accommodate your children and all your furry friends.
Allocating a separate bed, water dish, and food bowl for each of your pets is essential, and so is an independent room and play corner for your children. This is also necessary because sometimes children and animals need a time-out in a quiet, vacant space.
You should also allow your pets to have privacy when they eat since letting your children intrude during their mealtime or permitting all your animals to eat in one room could lead to fights and aggressive outcomes.
Building a Friendship
After a couple of weeks, try including your pets in your daily routine while taking care of your baby. Shower your pets with sufficient attention by offering them a treat when you feed the little one and take your dogs with you on a stroll.
While they must develop a friendship, don’t leave them alone in the same room unless you’re supervising them. Vigilance is even more critical as your toddler starts learning how to crawl or walk because when they wobble and fall, it might frighten your pet and make them defensive.
Take Care of Hygiene
Children who grow up with pets have improved overall health and contract fewer allergies. But that doesn’t mean your home shouldn’t be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
To ensure your children and pets stay healthy, you should take proper precautions while cooking for each of them, mainly if your pets’ diet contains some raw foods that carry toxic pathogens like salmonella or E. coli.
Keep an Eye Out for Aggression
Your dogs or cats may develop some resentment towards your baby. How can you tell? Keep an eye out for some telltale signs, including growling, biting, downward-pointing tail or pinned-back ears; not using the litterbox, sneaking toward the baby, dog soiling accidents, or reserved behavior.
Make sure you firmly attend to all unwanted behavior and reward them when they comply with your orders. If you have very young or old pets, they might require more vigilance. Older pets are accustomed to having no rivals with their owner’s affection, and young pets are usually quite spirited, so they need some training to become obedient.
Teaching manners to your children and pets is essential for them to coexist peacefully in the same house. Train your pets to obey basic commands but make sure your instructions aren’t limited to your furry friends.
It’s important to teach your children to gently stroke the pets without poking them in their ears or eyes, describing to them the concept of territory and the importance of a pet’s personal space.
Rather than pampering one with love at the other’s expense, make sure both are respected and cared for equally. Otherwise, it could cause resentment and a skirmish between the two.
This stage usually takes its own time, as children and animals develop interest and learn to be around each other. The biggest favor you can do is to be patient throughout the process because even a good friendship between a child and their pet takes time.
All in all, managing a household with several pets and children may not seem easy. Still, with a little guidance from experienced pet owners on pet care blogs, some strategizing, and organization, you can find a balance between the two and create a harmonious living experience for your children and furry friends.