If your child isn’t already bugging you for a puppy or a kitten, then the chances are they’ll be at it soon. Most children encounter animals around their local town, or at friends’ houses, and they instantly fall in love with the idea of having a little furry companion to call their own.
Of course, as convincing as your children’s arguments that they’re up to the challenge of caring for a pet might be, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of concerns to take into account before you rush out an adopt a four-legged friend for your youngster. Here are just some of the things you should think about.
1. Does Your Child Understand the Responsibilities of a Pet?
First, looking after a pet is a lot of hard work, and you need to make sure that your child is up for the challenge. A lot of people simply think about the great parts of pet ownership, like playing with a dog, or stroking and cuddling a cat, but they forget about things like feeding their pet, cleaning out droppings, and ensuring that they get enough exercise – no matter the weather. A good tip is to ask your child to draw up a list of chores that they think they should commit to if you get a pet.
2. Is your Child Old Enough for a Pet?
Very young children are sometimes afraid of large pets, and they can also be too rough to handle small pets carefully. Trying to train a small kitten or puppy is difficult enough for an adult, and if your children are struggling to learn how to behave themselves, it might be a good idea to wait a little longer before you introduce a new animal into their lives.
3. Are there Any Allergy Worries?
No matter how small and contained your chosen pet may be – from a hamster to a dog, it’s important to remember that the animal will need to spend some time in the house, so you’ll have to consider potential allergies not only for your child, but other people in your household too. It’s also worth remembering that you need to have someone available to care for the pet when you’re away on vacation.
4. Can you Afford the Long-Term Care?
Even if you adopt a pet rather than buying one from a local store, it’s important to remember that having a pet is an expensive experience. You not only have to think about the accessories you need to buy for that animal, like dog beds and cat litter trays, but also long-term expenses like vet bills and food costs.
5. Which is the Right Pet?
Finally, even if your child asks for a puppy, it’s worth noting that different pets are better for different children. For instance, if your child will never take the dog for a walk, then they may be better off with a cat who requires less attention and can still teach responsibility with litter-tray chores and feeding.