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Children and Understanding Pregnant Pets

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 8 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Birth Pets Reproduction Family Child

With pets in the family it stands to reason that before too long there will be puppies, kittens or other young arriving on the scene. The whole process of our pets giving birth is a fascinating time and should not be missed, but how to explain it to the children...

To Tell or Not?

Some children are born into families where cats or dogs are bred on a frequent basis. To these children it is natural to see animals mating and experience birth, and death, of pets around the home, However if a child has never seen young being born or a mating there are several ways to explain the process.

Mating a Pet

If there is to be a planned mating of a pet you may wish to consider whether your child is too young to experience new life at this time. If this is the case or it is your choice to avoid your child gaining firsthand knowledge of reproduction at this time then arrange for the mating to take place when they are away from the house.

You may, when a pregnancy has been confirmed, decide to tell the child that puppies or kittens are due and include them in the preparation. A place for the mother and young out of the noise of the household will be needed and if your child helps prepare the area he or she is more likely to accept that they cannot interfere in the early days after the young are born.

Even the most loving of family pets can become very possessive when they first give birth and will see off every member of the family until they are prepared to share their new brood. Bringing infection to the young is also a consideration and the constant stream of children popping in to look at the new arrivals could jeopardise their health.

Explaining Reproduction

Having the family pets give birth can be the ideal time to explain about sex and human reproduction to young children. There are many excellent books on the market for the young and armed with these you could compare the birth of the puppies and how the mother conceives them with that of family friends who are expecting the birth of a child. Seeing how the family pet copes with carrying its young will reassure a child that their own mother is not ill and that there is nothing to fear if they should be expecting a brother or sister at any time.

The Birth

If the animal is willing let the child witness the birth of the young. This is easier if it is a dog giving birth as many other pets will hide away and then surprise you with their new family after the event. The dog may experience problems so only wet the child view the birth once you are assured that everything is going well and that there is nothing too alarming that will frighten the child. Show the child a book on breeding that has diagrams so they are not surprised when out pops a puppy in its bag. The bitch can be quite rough on its young as it releases the puppy and licks it clean.

The New Family

As the newcomers to the family grow your child will be able to take his or her part in helping to clean out their bedding and feed the growing young. It may be that you will keep one of the young and your child will have his own pets that he will grow up with. The whole experience of pets giving birth can be both educational and exciting for the whole family.

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