Image Credit: Pixabay.com/
Do you have happy memories of playing with your pet when you were a kid and want the same for your child? Or are you looking for the best response to your child’s request for an animal buddy? Taking care of the health of your pet is a considerable commitment – so before you zero in on the right furry friend for your kid, spend some time to figure out the best match.
Is your child ready for the pet?
The two most important questions to consider before bringing home a pet are: can your child take care of the pet, and are you willing to supervise? If you think you can hand over the responsibility of taking care of the pet entirely over to your child, think again. It is the responsibility of the parents to care for the pet, irrespective of the child’s age. If the child is entrusted with chores, like cleaning the litter box or walking the dog, the parent needs to assure that it is done properly. It is also the job of the parent to schedule annual health check-ups for the pet.
The main qualities to look for in your child if you are planning to get him/her a pet are:
- Obedience – Your child should be able to understand instructions and follow them. It is important for pet health and safety.
- Gentleness – Your child should be able to control the energy with which he/she plays with the animal.
- Responsibility – If you decide to give pet-related chores to your kid, such as walking or feeding them, you need to ensure that they are done properly.
Tips for choosing the first pet
- Start small – Try a furred pet, like a hamster. These animals need more involvement than fishes, but also give more in return. A vet or a pet store is a good resource for advice on how to play with, feed, and keep your pet clean.
- Fostering – You can look for fostering opportunities with the local shelter if you want to try living with a pet first. Not all foster animals are mistreated or abandoned – most of them just need a place to stay while the owner is off to some place where pets are not allowed.
- Volunteering at the local shelter – This is a great activity for the family and will give hands-on training to your kids on the basics of pet care without the hassle committing to a pet.
Matching the personalities of kids and pets
Finding the right pet for your child is one of the biggest challenges. For example, it is not a good idea to get a nervous animal as a pet for an active child. It is essential to match the temperament of the pet and the kid. Cats and dogs should be trained using techniques of positive reinforcement. If you invest a little in obedience training with the involvement of your kids, it could go a long way in ensuring a smooth relationship with the pet.