Pet Care and Safety Around Dogs and Cats
How to Take Care of Your Dogs and Cats
If you have pets, they are counting on you to take good care of them. Taking care of a pet can be fun. Here are some things your dog and cat need to be happy and healthy in your home.
- Provide fresh food and fresh water every day.
- Make sure your pet has an ID tag with his or her name and your phone number on it as well as a microchip, so if your dog or cat gets lost, they can be returned to your family.
- Make time for playtime. Some dogs like to play fetch, some cats like to play with catnip toys. Make sure you have toys that are safe and fun for your pet.
- Exercise your pet. You may take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood or shine a light on the wall for your cat to chase.
- Train your dog to know his/her name and “come” when called. Train your dog to “sit” and “stay.” You can train your cat too. Training makes them smarter.
- Provide shelter for your pet. Pets are happiest when living in the house with their families. If they are outside all the time, they need protection from the weather, like a covered patio for protection from the sun and rain, and a warm garage or doghouse for safety in cold weather.
- Give your pet soft places to sleep. It can be a fancy pet bed or even just a folded up blanket. You don’t have to buy
expensive things to make your dog happy.
- Take your pet to a clinic to get them spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Make sure your pet gets healthy annual check ups with a veterinarian so he or she can stay healthy.
- Give them love and affection. Your pets love it when you talk to them and tell them that you love them.
- Whether you have dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles, snakes or fish, they are counting on you and your family to take good care of them. Read all you can about how to take care of your pets.
How to Behave Around Your Pets
When you’re around your pets, it’s important not to scare them or make them afraid. Animals react differently than people. While you might like to run around and make a lot of noise when you play, most dogs and cats and other pets get scared when you act this way around them. They might run away or even bite you if they feel trapped and don’t know how to make you stop. Here’s how to be respectful around pets.
- When you’re around your pets, it’s important not to scare them or make them afraid. Animals react differently than people. While you might like to run around and make a lot of noise when you play, most dogs and cats and other pets get scared when you act this way around them. They might run away or even bite you if they feel trapped and don’t know how to make you stop. Here’s how to be respectful around pets.
- Stay quiet around dogs and cats. Don’t holler and scream when they are around.
- Don’t chase dogs or cats.
- Never take a toy, food or treat from a dog. Some dogs don’t like their things taken away and could snap at you for taking their stuff. Always call your dog to you and offer them a treat, then go over and pick up the toy. Better yet, ask your parents or other caregivers to do that for you.
- Never touch your pet while he or she is eating. They might think you are trying to take his or her food.
- Never cover your pets eyes or ears. They get scared when they can’t see or hear.
How to Behave Around a Dog on a Leash
You may want to pet every dog you see, but it’s important to be respectful around dogs and have good manners when meeting a dog for the first time. Here’s what to do if you meet a dog on a leash with their owner.
- You may want to pet every dog you see, but it’s important to be respectful around dogs and have good manners when meeting a dog for the first time. Here’s what to do if you meet a dog on a leash with their owner.
- Never approach a dog or a stranger you don’t know. Always ask your parent or other caregiver for permission to approach the dog.
- Never run towards the dog. It could scare them.
- When you get close to the dog, stop so you are standing a few feet away from the dog.Ask the dog’s owner, “May I pet your dog?” and then stand still and wait for their response.
- If the dog’s owner says “no,” thank them and walk away. (The dog could be unfriendly or sick and they may not feel like being petted that day.)
- If the owner says “yes,” wait for the owner to instruct you. The owner may want the dog to sit before you pet him or her.
- Before approaching the dog, hold out an outstretched fist. You will still be a few feet away, but the dog can smell you and see you mean no harm. When the owner gives you permission to approach, walk slowly to the side of the dog and pet the dog on the side of the neck and shoulder. Do not lean over the dog’s head or pet the dog on the top of the head.
- When you are done petting the dog, say “thank you” to the dog’s owner, and slowly walk away. Do not run.
Be Like a Tree
What do you do if a strange dog runs towards you or jumps on you? Be like a tree. Trees don’t move or make noise, so be very still and quiet like a tree. Dogs may sniff you, but if you are standing like a tree, they will lose interest and walk away.
- Stop and stand like a tree. Don’t make a sound. A dog will lose interest and go away if you stay very still and quiet.
- Tilt your head down and keep your eyes open so you can see what the dog is doing. Do not look at the dog directly in the eyes. Some dogs see direct eye contact as a threat and may growl.
- Lock your fingers together in front of you. If a dog tries to jump on you, make a fist and cross your arms across your chest.
- Wait for the dog to walk away. Then walk backward slowly for several steps. Keep an eye on the dog. If the dog continues to walk away from you, then you can turn slowly and walk slowly away. Do not run or make sudden moves.
- If the dog walks up to you again, stand like a tree, and repeat the steps above until you are safely home, at your friend’s house or at school.
- After you’re a few feet away and know the dog is not going to bother you anymore, turn around slowly and walk away slowly. Do not run away or the dog will chase you.
- Tell an adult you know about the dog.
Be a Rock
What do you do if a dog knocks you down? Be like a rock.
- Drop to the ground.
- Sit on your legs, bend over towards the ground, and tuck your head into your chest.
- Cup your hands over your ears and keep your face to the ground.
- The dog may sniff you, but will walk away if you don’t move. Be like a rock until the dog is gone.
- When the dog is gone, get up and walk slowly away. Do not run.
- Tell an adult you know about the dog.