HKQ Kids

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe

Nothing warms your heart more than little kids hugging their pets. Owning a pet can be beneficial for kids. It teaches them responsibilities, such as nurturing, how to care for their pets, and companionship. However, every year, about 400,000 kids need medical attention for animal bites, with 80% of those incidences being from animals that children are familiar with.


  • Dogs can bite because they are frightened, feel threatened, or even protecting their food, their bed or their toys. Teaching kids how to interact safely with their own pets as well as those around them can help reduce that risk.
  • First, consider enrolling your dog in obedience training. Many pet shops and pet supply stores offer training classes that will teach your dog commands to help keep him under control.
  • Teach your kids to become “a tree”. When approaching a strange dog, she should stand still with her hands at her side. If she runs away, the dog may think she is playing and try to knock her down. If she does get knocked down, teach her to curl up in a ball to protect her face and hands.
  • Crate training can be very beneficial for dogs. It creates a safe haven when play gets a little out of hand. If crate training isn’t possible, then a baby gate can create a little space and a little time out for your dog when it is needed.
  • Teach kids how to pet a dog’s back and sides, instead of reaching over his head.
  • Instruct your kids that they should never stare directly into dogs’ eyes, as dogs may read that as antagonistic. They should also avoid dogs that are growling, snarling, or have raised hair on the backs of their necks.


  • Unlike dogs, most cats will run away when they feel threatened or bothered. But if kids do chase down a cat or corner it, the cat may lash out. Teach your kids to let the cat alone if the cat runs off.
  • A cat will give a small warning such as flipping its tail back and forth very quickly. Teach kids that this particular warning sign means do not touch. The cat may bite or scratch.
  • If your child does get scratched or bitten, wash the area well with soap and water for at least 30 seconds and watch the site for infection. If it breaks the skin, consult your physician.
  • Teach your kids to just pet your cat’s back and behind its ears, gently, instead of picking them up.
  • Keep your cat’s litter box in an area away from kids.

Teaching your kids and pets mutual respect will go a very long way, and lead to some wonderful memories. Be safe, and enjoy your family time.