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A Private Place For Pets

By: Lisa Klassen - Updated: 26 Oct 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Children Kids Child Toddler Pet Animal

Families often lead very busy, hectic lifestyles that are sometimes a little trying to the natures of pets. Animals can start to feel quite overwhelmed with it all when there is a lot of action going on in the house. Birthday parties, Christmas holidays, sleepovers with a group of friends, all these events can be a bit stressful for a pet, so give pets a private area to retreat to when needed.

The Necessity of Privacy

Children have a tendency to regard pets as living, breathing stuffed animals that are there to be playmates, young kids and toddlers in particular. They often have a hard time realising that their pets have needs too, unless an adult has explained this to them in a way they relate to and understand. Drawing comparisons between a child’s room and a pet’s private sanctuary is an excellent analogy to use to make kids aware of a pet’s need for privacy. Talk to them about how good it feels sometimes to be alone in their rooms, without anyone there to bug them or tell them what to do. Describe how pets can feel this way too and how important it is to give them that time when it’s needed. Get kids to try and visualise what it would feel like if they never had a moment to themselves in their lives, this should help them empathise with their pet’s plight.

Setting up a Pet’s ‘Room’

Pets should have their very own space in the home where no one will intrude upon them while they are resting. Dogs and cats should have a place that’s out of the main flow of activity for the house. A place that is comfortable, easily accessible and has a dark, den-like feel to it. Birds like to have a cover that can be placed over their cage for darkness and privacy, and like to be taken to an area of the house that’s less busy. Cage and hutch animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, rats and mice need a covered area that they can burrow into and be hidden from sight to feel safe. Explain to kids that this area is ‘off limits’ so their pets can feel like they have a place of their own as well as their space within the family community. Make sure that kids are aware that pets can become quite grumpy when poked or prodded out of their private resting spot and that children are more likely to be bitten or scratched at this time.

Pet Privacy Don’ts

  • Don’t cut off an animal’s retreat to their private area or otherwise hinder them from escaping when they feel the need for privacy.
  • If your pet is backing away from you, in a corner or skulking along the wall in an attempt to get away, don’t chase them.
  • Don’t bother animals that are resting or relaxing while they are in their private place. Kids can call them to come out but should never try to drag them out.
  • Leave pets alone while they are using the bathroom
The best phrase to use on kids to help them remember to respect pet’s need for privacy is the old ‘Do unto others’ adage. If kids can keep this in mind, they’ll be able to let pets have a private place of their own.

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