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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Episode 79 (Epilogue): Kids and Pets

We joined Carmela and Ryan to discuss the relationship between children and pets. Whether you’re brining a child’s first pet into the home, welcoming your first baby into the world and hoping your furry companion will welcome them too, or dealing already dealing with the relationship between your kids and your pets, a healthy, safe relationship between children and pets is fundamentally important. Our guest tonight was Dr. Gary Reinhardt. Dr. Gary is owner/operator of the Veterinary Center of Sarasota located at 311 South Washington Blvd. in downtown Sarasota. Dr. Gary graduated with honors from Michigan State University in 1974. He worked in a multi-Vet hospital in downtown Chicago, in a specialty clinic in northern California and worked and managed an emergency clinic in Berkeley California before he began taking care of our community pets in Sarasota in 1985.

We began with a discussion of pregnancy and dogs, focusing on the importance of setting boundaries and creating a safe space before welcoming a baby into the household. Some of the tips for dogs (and cats!) included exposes pets to baby furniture and toys beforehand in order to familiarize them, taking “Leadership Walks” with dogs, and how to introduce pets to babies. Dr. Gary also explained some safety concerns regarding pregnant mothers and illnesses that can be contracted from pets, particularly cats and their litter boxes, and some potential dangers from birds, rodents, and lizards. Carmela also questioned Dr. Gary about the notion that “Your pets are your children, until you have children, and then they’re your pet.”  Gary shared the importance of pet owners making sure they are letting their pets be pets, and not trying to make them people.

We then moved on to a discussion of bringing new pets into a home that already has children. Gary gave suggestions for what age it is best to bring children in the home, what age it is appropriate to expect children to be able to take on responsibility for pets, and what kind of responsibility you can expect from children at these ages. Dr. Gary also generally discussed which dogs are “good for kids,” and why.  Dr. Gary also provided some recommendations for children and dog safety training in the area. Dr. Gary also discussed what to do when a dog bites a child, and the potential dangers of squeaky toys!

We then discussed helping kids through grieving the loss of pets. Dr. Gary suggested seeking out books (including When a Pet Dies by Mr. Rogers), and finding specialists in pet loss if necessary.  We closed with some questions from our listeners

Tonight’s Right: Every woman has the right to communicate with caregivers and receive all care in privacy, which may involve excluding nonessential personnel. She also has the right to have all personal information treated according to standards of confidentiality. For more information please visit

Dr. Gary’s Email:
Phone Number: 941-952-1900

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