Is Your Child Ready for a Pet?

Is Your Child Ready for a Pet?

Oct 20, 2017

When considering your child’s first pet, keep in mind your child’s age and developmental stage. If pet care will be his or her responsibility, be sure to pick an animal whose needs can be managed easily. Pet selection is very important; cats and dogs require a great deal of daily attention. Such animals need to be fed, walked, brushed, washed, cleaned up after, and their waste must be scooped up. Other creatures, like birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs and fish, have fewer basic needs and can be a better pet selection for young kids because they require less of a daily commitment. For example, a simple goldfish need to be fed every 1-3 days, with a complete water change from time to time.

Animal Temperament

You must also consider the temperament of the creature you bring into your home. Some dog breeds are more gentle and easygoing like beagles and retrievers, while other types can be more unpredictable like pit bulls, boxers, and German shepherds. Your pet selection should be child-friendly.

Pet Dander

If your child has a history of allergies, or if allergic disorders run in your family, this may affect your pet selection. Pet hair, dander, and feathers can trigger allergic symptoms in those prone to symptoms. If this is the case, a pet with fur or feathers will not be a good choice. Consult with your pediatrician before bringing home your child’s first pet.

Reptile Handling

Almost all animals have the potential to carry disease that may infect your child. For example, every type of reptile can transmit salmonella, which can cause severe diarrhea without proper hygiene practices. But, with regular hand washing after pet handling and before eating, reptiles can be very safe. However, kids with immune disorders should stay away from pets in general.

Pet Care Books

Before bringing home your newest addition, discuss with your child about pet care and everything the animal will need. Borrow library books on pet care, look up information online, or purchase reference materials at the pet store. If you have a friend or family member with the same type of pet, take your young’un to visit, ask questions, and learn firsthand what pet care involves every day.

How Should You React If Your Child Loses Interest in The Pet?

If your son or daughter made a commitment to caring for an animal and starts to grow tired of the responsibility, maybe another family member will step up and take over. If not, inform your child of the negative impact the neglect will have on the pet if the lack of interest does not change. You will be left no choice but to find a new home for the creature.

Try not to attack or accuse the child of failing or being selfish. Use a more logical approach by focusing on something like, how the animal needs reliable care and how the child has not followed through as promised. Another family will have to be found to take care of the pet.

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