Many pets love to play with stuffed animals. It is important that these toys are not toxic and do not have pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed. They should be stuffed with non-toxic stuffing and made of materials that cannot be ripped. The Wisconsin Humane Society sells appropriate stuffed toys for dogs and cats in their gift shop.
It is also important that children are taught the difference between a live puppy or kitten and their stuffed animals. It is common to see a child drag a stuffed dog or cat around by the tail, ears or legs. When a young child is exposed to puppies and kittens they tend to do the same or wrap their arms around the bellies of the animals and not give them support, which can injure the pet.
So, when introducing children to a puppy or kitten have them sit on the floor. Let them hold them in their arms supporting the animal with both arms. Do not allow them to grab, ears, tails, or legs. They must be made to understand that live animals can be injured permanently and stuffed animals can be repaired.
When children are taught the difference between a live animal and a stuffed one from the onset they will grow to be good pet owners.