5 Things to Consider before Buying your Child a Pet

5 Things to Consider before Buying your Child a PetIf 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.

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17 Comments
  1. There is a lot that goes into having a pet and making sure the kids know what they are getting into is a good idea. We did that with our kids.

  2. This is a good read. Parents should always remember points to consider before deciding to buy their child a pet or not. I think what also important is the readiness of the child to have them around the house. Some children will love pets at first but eventually lose interest on them.

  3. We recently adopted a kitty, probably more for me than my kiddos. However, they have really stepped up to the responsibility of owning a pet. It is important to make sure your child is ready to handle a pet before getting one. There are too many pets in shelters just because kids couldn’t handle the huge undertaking of caring for another living being yet.

  4. This could also relate to if you and your husband, as newlyweds, are ready to get a pet. My husband and I only waited one week after marriage to get a puppy! It was very stressful :p

  5. I think pets are great for kids. We have a house full of them. But you have to figure out what works for your family, since pets are not cheap!

  6. These are tips! It breaks my heart when see or hear about families buying and then re-homing pets because they didn’t do their homework.

  7. Good advice here. Pets are like children and are high maintence and lots of costs and care involved. At he end of the day…nothing beats happiness and the smile of a child 🙂

  8. These are great things to consider before buying a pet for your family. You definitely don’t want to get them something they are allergic to.

  9. Definitely things to consider! I’m a single mom, my teen wanted a cat. Ummm. Yes, the cat is now my responsibility when at dads. Then completely mine when off to college. No more pets after this one!

  10. Thank you for sharing these important things to consider. Too often you hear about puppies and kittens being taken to shelters because the kids weren’t ready for, or didn’t understand, what it means to have a pet. Educating the kids and making smart choices encourages a happy pet family for all!

  11. When I was younger I would always beg my parents for a pet. But being older I now know why they never rushed into the idea!

  12. I totally agree! We did buy our son a dog for his 10th birthday. We knew he was very responsible (but he still had to learn to be responsible for his dog after we got him one). We knew that the dog couldn’t be a puppy because of the work involved. We are thankful to have found a great dog at the pet shelter who was completely house trained and is great with kids. Our dog has been a blessing to our entire family. Great info!

  13. I think with the rising cost of veterinary care, I don’t think we’ll get anymore pets. I was told at our last kitty check up that it would be $400 to clean my cat’s teeth. I just don’t have $400 set aside for pet dental care let alone kid or human dental care. There’s definitely a lot to consider. Right now I take care of the cats, but it’s a struggle to get the kids to refill their food bowls when they are empty. It’s definitely a mom thing.

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