Parents reach a point in their child’s lives when they start thinking about pet ownership. It is a wonderful way to teach responsibility and empathy. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. Far to many pets are left abandoned as a result of a fun family endeavor. Here are some considerations to review before a trip to the pet store.
How old is your child? The age of your child can dictate what type of pet you should get, or if you should get one at all. If you have a baby wait to get a family pet. Your baby will get the lion’s share of the attention, and rightly so. This will make it more difficult for your pet to connect with your family. Younger children do well with pets confined to cages. That makes it easier to monitor their play and gives the pet a break from eager hands. As your children, age so does their ability to accept more responsibility. Remember that if you are getting a teenager a pet that eventually that pet will likely become your responsibility.
How aggressive is your child? Children learn a lot about empathy by owning a pet, they don’t come by it naturally. The more aggressive your child the more you may want to think about starting the lesson by buying a fish. Remember the safety of the animal as well as the safety of the child. Animals will follow their instincts and defend themselves, which can be a ticket to the pound.
How responsible is your child? The newness of owning a pet can be thrilling and the list of chores that are added to your child’s daily routine seem minute compared to the fun to be had; however, when the newness wears off are you prepared to be consistent in your discipline? Responsibility has to be learned and won’t be if you take over the care of the pet.
Is your child prepared for a new pet? Kids come up with all sorts of reasons for wanting a pet, but are they prepared? With the internet at our fingertips, there is no excuse for them not to know what they are getting into. You can learn about the tendencies of a breed, what they eat, what type of habitat they thrive in and how to train them. You can also learn what specific behaviors mean. For example, a dog wagging his tail may mean he is happy, but it could also mean that they are anxious.
How serious is your child about pet ownership? Does your child have a lot of good ideas but poor follow through? If that is the case, think about getting a pet with a short life span or one that is up there in years. It is a lot better than having to take over the care and allow your child to learn that it is ok to give up on responsibility. It would be even worse to abandon a pet because you weren’t prepared to care for it yourself.
Pets are a lot of fun and a lot of work. With the right game plan, everybody can win in this exciting time. Whatever your decision, remember to spay or neuter your pet.
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