Social Question

Jellie's avatar

How comfortable are you letting your baby or young child play with a pet?

Asked by Jellie (6469 points ) June 18th, 2011

I see videos on youtube of babies playing with dogs and cats which involves climbing onto them, pulling their fur, crawling around them. I always think you can never trust an animal. My dogs are my babies and I can pull food out of their mouth and they don’t do anything but they have snapped at me once or twice.

Do you have pets and babies that play together? If so, how did you introduce them to each other? Do you always feel the need to supervise them? Do they always play good?

If you don’t have babies and/or pets then what is your view on this?

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21 Answers

WasCy's avatar

Have you watched closely how children sometimes ‘play’ with each other? I was always more certain about any of the pets that we had around than some other peoples’ kids.

(You have to watch your small kids with everyone and everything.)

Coloma's avatar

People tend to project THEIR emotions and sentiments onto their pets. I never trust anyone that says ” Oh, he/she would NEVER bite!”

I’m a huge animal lover, have had everything from horses to geese and large parrots. While your interactions with an animal may be, fairly predictable, they are not for others, especially strangers and small children.

I would always supervise very young kids around animals at all times.

When my daughter was small we had a huge, 96 lb. hound. He was, for the most part very gentle towards her, but, the food issue was iffy. He nabbed her fingers a few times when he was over eager for a goodie. Nothing serious, but, I payed attention constantly.

Most animals react out of fear or being hurt or startled. Even the mellowest dog or horse can do some serious damage if they are frightened or startled.

I would not leave a child under 6 or so alone with a dog that that has been known to snap.

Cruiser's avatar

I taught my kids how to play nice with pets and I am teaching my new dog how to play nice with kids. I would never let my youngins near larger dogs though unless that dog was leashed and under full control of it’s owner. Kids are unpredictable and so are dogs responses to yanked tails.

Jellie's avatar

@WasCy I agree children can get pretty crazy too but how much damage can the blow/punch of a little child do compared to the teeth/nails and animal instinct of a pet.

DancingMind's avatar

I don’t have kids—but I would teach them to respect and understand the dog or cat, be adept at reading the body language. No life attacks without a warning, without perceived necessity, whatever the situation is.

WasCy's avatar

I wouldn’t want to test the limits of what a child can do to another child, @sarahhhhh.

zenvelo's avatar

A friend had a “nice gentle lab/shepherd mix” that was in the family a year before the daughter. They got along great, and the dog was very gentle when the girl was a baby and toddler. But when the girl was nearing three years old, she and the dog were in the backyard, when, for reasons unknown, the dog turned on her and actually had the girl’s head in its jaws.

The father was about 15 feet away, and was able to force the dog to let go; the girl needed very fine stitching but was close to losing a significant amount of her face. The father was amazed at how quickly it all happened.

athenasgriffin's avatar

Animals bite. They are animals. You can trust them to do what is in their nature to do. I would never let a child play alone with any animal that is bigger than the child is. I wouldn’t leave someone else’s kid alone with my pets ever. Even though my pets are excellently trained, there is always the possibility that they will do something they are not supposed to, and I would never put someone else’s child in danger.

creative1's avatar

My cat sterling has loved my oldest since the day she came home at 3mths old and when I would be feeding her a bottle he would walk over and stick up his tail so she would grab it. From the day she could walk he would come over and lift his tail so she would take it and walk around the house like you walk a dog on a leash. Its the cutest funniest thing you see. She is now 3 and he still lets her walk him around by is tail and will tell people she walks her cat Sterling. People always ask me if the cat is trained to walk by leash I tell them no and that she walks him with his tail and they laugh. When she pats Sterling you could feel his paws and you would never be able to tell he has claws because he has them retracted so far. I trust him around the kids all the time and he loves the girls.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ve had cats around young children too @creative1. I never had any problems. Also an Australian shepherd. He only bit any of us once. He didn’t break the skin. It was me he snapped at. He and I came to an understanding so to speak. Best dog in the world.

YARNLADY's avatar

My grandchildren are always supervised around any dog, but I have never felt uncomfortable about our current dog with them.

I had a dog that wasn’t allowed to play with children, or anyone but family, but I finally had to have her euthanized when my grandson was born (and they lived in our house).

The dog was very old by then, and had developed tumors. The vet agreed that we did the best thing.

tko7800's avatar

I would never leave a child alone with a pet no matter how well-behaved the pet is. I’ve heard too many stories of kids getting bit and it’s usually because the parents weren’t paying attention or ignored the warning signs. Reminds me of the story of a pit bull that bit a small child. Everyone immediately jumped on the “pits are vicious dogs!” hysteria until it was revealed that the pit had deep scars on her face. Apparently the child was digging her fingers into the pit, the pit took the pain as long as she possibly could and finally snapped. Now, that’s not the pit’s fault or the child’s fault, but the fault of whatever parental guardian should have been watching. So to make a long story short, keep an eye on them!

bkcunningham's avatar

Yeah, you can’t leave little children alone, period.

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QueenOfNowhere's avatar

I always think you can never trust a baby! I hope they stop hurting the poor animals.

tinyfaery's avatar

Children are much more dangerous to the pets, especially small ones, than animals are a danger to children. Kids should always be supervised, no matter what, and they should be taught, as early as possible, to treat other living things with kindness and sensitivity.

My most precious memories from childhood are those that involve my pets. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without him. Sure, I got some scratches and bites, but I learned, the animals learned, and we all ended-up better in the end.

bkcunningham's avatar

Years ago, I had neighbors with children who had never been around animals. The youngsters told me their dad didn’t like dogs or cats. Of course, my cats loved to lounge on the hood of his warm car. The young doctor was so funny. His kids grew to love my cats and my dog. My first contact with the little brother and sister was them throwing rocks at my dog. They didn’t know better and were afraid. His growling and barking when he was bombarded with rocks he was trying to fetch and catch only amplified their fears…until I caught them.

Bellatrix's avatar

Only in a very closely supervised way. Children have to learn to interact with animals and I wouldn’t want to create fear about doing so by acting as if all animals are dangerous. Animals have to learn to associate with young humans, but they are animals and we can’t ever forget that. By isolating the child from the animal totally, you could create jealousy issues.

So yes, but in a very closely supervised way, where the adult is watching not only what the child is doing, but for signs the animal is becoming frustrated. As has been noted here, if an animal is going to lose its patience, it will happen quickly.

sakura's avatar

We were very lucky. Our dog came from a rescue centre…he is the most placid dog ever…our daughter was the same age (2) is Harry (dog) when he joined our family, she was taught from the start not to tease him.etc… and he is sooo patient with her, they are both approching teenager years now and are a constant source of love and cuddles for each other, I hope he is still around tk catch any tears caused by boys, just as he has been for scraped knees and telling offs!! He loves her and she loves him…I’ve never doubted his behaviour and know he wouldn’t have hurt her when se was little, in fact he used to lie next to her prams when.she was having an afternoon nap and guard her!!! If both owner of dog and owner of child are responsible then there should not be a problem, there are always exceptions to the rule. But kids can be dangerous too, only a couple.of weeks ago teenagers shot and mutilted animals at a local park “just for.fun”

mattbrowne's avatar

I teach them about washing their hands afterwards.

Jellie's avatar

@sakura thats adorable!!

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