There’s no doubt that kids and dogs make the cutest of buddies. Growing up with a dog is a wonderful experience for most kids, and the benefits far outweigh the work involved. Living with a dog promotes empathy, compassion, and self esteem, and can teach valuable lessons about responsibility.

But when kids and dogs are stuck together in the house all day, things can go awry without a game plan. Your team at Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center wants to help you make the most out of cabin fever with our top tips for managing your two and four-legged crew!

Dog Safety

Everyone knows that tensions can rise quickly when we’re cooped up together, and the same goes for kids and dogs. Every year around 400,000 kids seek medical attention for dog bites, and about 80% of those are from dogs they know, which means that extra supervision and revisiting safety instructions may be in order.

  • All kids should understand the concept of “gentle touches”. No ear or tail-pulling, no laying on a dog allowed, and roughhousing kept to a minimum.
  • Go over the basics of dog body language with young kids. Growling, flattened ears, and fur standing on end are obvious signs that a dog is upset. More subtle signs include excessive yawning or lip licking, and looking away from you.
  • Make sure your dog has their own personal space to retreat to when they’re tired of playing and attention. Teach your children to leave the dog alone when they’re in this space.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

The importance of daily exercise for both people and pets cannot be underestimated. Working out the wiggles is the key to harmonious living with kids and dogs. So grab the kids and the leash and make the daily walk a priority. Other ideas for active fun include:

  • Fetch
  • Tug-of-war
  • Hide and seek
  • Obstacle courses (kids tend to have a lot of fun setting up courses for themselves and their dogs)

Life with Kids and Dogs

Being at home together is the perfect opportunity to get the kids more involved in pet care. Besides developing a sense of responsibility and pride, caring for a pet deepens the bond between pet and human. Depending on your child’s age and ability, they may be able to help with any of the following:

  • Feeding and watering
  • Brushing
  • Bathing
  • Obedience training

We would love to see how your kids and dogs are keeping busy! Post a photo to our Facebook page, or let us know the next time you see us. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your pet.