Pet Safety around Strangers

If you find that strangers—especially kids—approach your pet because he’s so cute or unusual, you’ll probably have many chances to teach others about pet safety.

When the grandkids or neighborhood children visit your home, it’s likely they’ll want to play with your pet. And if you take your puppy for a walk, he might attract some well-intentioned neighborhood kids. Even if your dog or pet is the best-behaved pet on the planet, interactions like these give you the chance to teach kids about pet safety.

If the children don’t have pets at home, or if they have different animals than you have, they probably don’t know much about how the animal can act. In the case of some reptiles, the kids most likely won’t know anything about germs your pet might carry.

Teach children (and less experienced adults):
– Not to approach a pet that is sleeping, eating or caring for their babies. And leave dog toys alone.
– To always ask an adult before petting any animal.
– To wash hands with soap and warm water after petting animals like snakes and turtles, if they touch kitty litter or get a cat scratch or bite.
– Not to run or make quick movements around dogs they don’t know—or dogs that don’t know them. If a loose dog comes toward you, show how to stand still like a tree until the dog leaves.
– To watch wild animals from a safe distance.

If you have the chance, visit this “coloring book” website with children:

If you’re a teacher, check out these resources to share with your students:

When strangers approach, have some lessons in mind. Those can help keep both your pet safe around others, and children safe around animals.

Is your pet friendly toward strangers? If not, how do you handle strangers coming close? Let us know in the comments!

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