A new addition to the home: a family pet?
The responsibility of caring for a pet can be a positive experience for children of any age. This will teach them how to look after an animal, cater to their needs, learn interaction and to have a loving and compassionate attitude towards animals overall.
However, when/if you are choosing a pet it is very important to ensure that the family is ready for one, and the responsibility it brings! Before deciding on a pet, here are some questions you should ask yourself to find the best suited pet for your home:
- Allergies! Do any of your family/household members have any allergies towards animals, or even dust and hay?
- Your child’s expectations, willingness and responsibility of caring for the animal – Is your child happy to observe a pet? Or would they like to play with one?
- The amount of money you are prepared to spend. This includes the equipment, and ongoing costs, such as food, veterinary bills, boarding for when you are away etc.?
- The amount of time you are prepared to commit to the pet – some animals can live for a long time.
- How much space does this animal need within the home?
- How will the pet impact your neighbors?
- Can the pet be left for long periods of time, whilst you are at work etc.?
- How much noise and odor are you willing to accept?
- Who will look after the pet whilst you are away?
- How much attention does the pet need a day?
- If you have other pets, how will this affect them?
A good starter pet for a family. Restricted to the available space given, they can be left for a whole day, without any worry. Ensure you do not over feed them, as a trip to the toilet may be sooner than you thought! Be prepared to clean the tank – this can be a big task.
What’s better than having the furry creature curl up in a ball on your lap and purr away. More suitable for older children, as they will be more able to understand the cat’s temperament.
Dogs are a man’s best friend! But they require the most care of any domestic animal, veterinary bills can be high. Will your child keep to the promise of walking it every day? Will the dog be left alone for long periods of time? There are a wide range of different dog breeds to fit different families.
Best suited for patient children, as birds are very intelligent and can be taught a number of tricks, but this can be a long process. Beautiful colorful creatures, but expect to clean the cage often, as they can be very messy!
Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters etc are perfect pets if cats and dogs are too much responsibility and your child would like a pet that they can interact with. They are also normally enough responsibility for a young child to handle. However, some rodents are nocturnal, which is good for when everyone is at work or school, but what about the weekend! Additionally, some rodents may produce odor which can linger. If you decide to buy more than one rodent we recommend the same sex.
Ant Farms and Sea Monkeys:
Very little responsibility at all, but can keep the children entertained.
Owning a pet can be a rewarding experience for children and the whole family. They bring educational opportunities and entertainment, but most of all love and affection.
Remember with ownership comes big responsibility; the need of attention, care, maintenance and financial commitment. Think wisely before welcoming a new addition your family home. Do your research and remember some children will need supervision when interacting with other animals.
411830I CAN/US (04/15)