Preparing Kids for the First Family Pet

Massachusetts Turtle CelebrationYour child is growing up. They’ve been campaigning for a pet, and you’re finally considering allowing it. There’s no better combo than kids and animals! By welcoming a pet to the family, your child will learn how to be caring and responsible. What do you have to know about pet ownership? What pet will you choose? How will you take care of it? Follow this guide so you can prepare!

Before anything else, determine if your child is fit for owning a pet. A child younger than Kindergarten-age probably won’t have the capacity to truly comprehend pet ownership. If your child is older than that, consider his/her behavior. Is your child out of control or well behaved? Are they quiet or loud? These factors have an impact on what pet your child is ready for. Make sure to teach your children that pets have emotions, need exercise, and need medical attention just like humans, but in different ways. If you feel your child is extremely responsible for their age, you could consider a dog or a cat.  Just know that some kids can have bad allergies around dogs and cats. For younger kids and parents who have never owned a pet, it’s probably better to start small. Consider a turtle, hamster, fish, etc. But remember – any pet takes responsibility, be it big or small.

Young boy with dog
Once you’ve decided on the pet you want, begin researching the best places to get it. You can adopt, or buy from a pet store. Both options have their advantages, but there is an excellent feeling that comes with adoption. You can ask family and friends where they got their pets. While in the pet buying process, develop a weekly care chart for your new pet. Make sure your child understands the consequences if they don’t follow through with the rules and care days you’ve set. If you’re in the market for a dog especially, it’s very important to clean your home! Having a pet will lower the air quality in the home, and children need quality air; pets do too! Have air filters ready, and be prepared with a schedule for home cleaning alongside of the care schedule.

When you welcome your pet to the home, make sure you are supervising your child with the pet until you feel comfortable with things going out of sight. Make sure the pet is getting fed properly, walked (if applicable), etc. If you plan on getting other pets in the future, make sure your pets can adapt. For instance, if you get a dog first, make sure you don’t leave it with a new kitten. This can be dangerous.

Above all, remember that owing a pet is fun! Adding a new member to the family is exciting.  Enjoy the process.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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