If you have pets, it’s important to keep them safe while the trampoline is in use. Some pets can become anxious when your children use a trampoline, or they may use the trampoline as a bed when no one’s around. Whether you have a dog or a cat, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your pet stays safe around your trampoline.
One important thing to start with is trampoline usage rules for your children. For one, ask everyone to always ensure they zip the netting closed when exiting the trampoline. This will stop pets from being able to access it while no-one is around. If a pet decides it’s comfortable on the trampoline to nap, it can be a hard habit to break so being firm with rules early on is paramount.
Children love their pets and they might be tempted to bring their dog, cat, rabbit or other pet with them on the trampoline. It’s safer for everyone if the trampoline always remains a pet free zone. Once the jumping starts, it’s easy for a small animal to become injured.
Pocket surrounds go around the bottom of the trampoline so that pets can’t get under the trampoline. This is an excellent safety barrier not only for pets but also for young children. Purchasing one that is made from UV treated triple layer PVC netting will ensure that it won’t break or tear when exposed to the elements.
Some dogs will run around and underneath a trampoline while someone is on it, causing a safety hazard. If you have a dog that does this, it’s important that they are either inside the house or secured outside and can’t go near the trampoline while it’s in use.
The RSPCA recommends a secure, suitably sized enclosure for short periods of time. If this is not possible, a tether can also be used for short amounts of time. Dogs should not be left alone on a tether until they are trained to be tethered, as this in itself can be the cause of more distress. All dogs on a tether must be provided with fresh water, shelter and food.
Swivel tethers or fixed runners are recommended by the RSPCA. These tethers reduce the likelihood of injury and entanglement. They suggest using a leather collar which is attached to the swivel and then to the tether which should be around 3 metres long. Metal chain tethers offer greatest security as rope tethers can break, fray and tangle. The weight of the chain should not cause a problem for the dog to move around.
If your dog is chewing your trampoline mats, there are a few steps you can take to stop this. Firstly, it’s really important to catch them in the act, according to PetBarn. Once you’ve caught them chewing or generally causing havoc around the trampoline, offer them a toy in exchange. Divert their attention. If you yell or attempt to pull the mat from their mouth they may think this is a game and scolding them will simply confuse and scare them.
Dogs need regular stimulation, with enough chew toys to keep their teeth healthy and their mind active. They also need to be walked regularly to fight boredom. If your dog gets enough exercise and has plenty of chew toys, they won’t feel the need to look to the large structure in the yard for some fun. If you’re concerned about their behaviour and think that the destruction may be caused by separation anxiety or something else, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet.
There are a few signs that dogs exhibit when they are feeling anxious. According to Pet Helpful, these include; panting, ears folded back tightly, backing away, barking, growling, nipping and biting.
Your dog needs to see you as the pack leader and be able to look to you to know that everything is ok. While some dogs are simply nervous by nature, others can benefit greatly by their owners taking a few simple steps:
Hiring a dog behaviourist can also be really helpful. These sessions can be one-on-one and trainers can help your dog work through the specific situations they feel nervous about. Over time, your dog will become less anxious about your kids using the trampoline.
Your family pet is an important member of the family so it’s important to keep them happy and safe. Follow and enforce these rules in your backyard to ensure your pets are safe while the kids are using the trampoline.