Many of us have fond memories of owning a pet as a child. Pet ownership is an excellent way of teaching children about responsibility and can also be an enriching experience for you, but it is important that you choose the type of pet you buy carefully. Below are some tips for choosing the right pet for you and your child.
Make Sure You Are Both Ready for Pet Ownership
Owning a pet is a major responsibility and is not something that you should enter into lightly. Before you start picking out a pet for your child, you need to be certain that both you and they are prepared for what lies ahead. If you are considering handing the full responsibility of the pet over to your child, then you need to realise that this is not realistic. Not only will your child inevitably need some guidance on how to properly look after another living thing, but you will assume ultimate responsibility if they should fail in any regard. That means that you need to be prepared to step in at any minute.
You will also need to take charge when it comes to your pet’s health. If they end up needing a vet visit or an annual check-up, then you are going to have to organise and pay for this.
It is worth considering taking out a pet insurance policy to pre-empt any potential medical issues. There are a number of pet insurance providers out there to choose from. For example, Everypaw offers pet insurance for both cats and dogs. They offer different types of insurance and they even offer a multi-pet discount if you are insuring more than one pet at a time. This insurance can give you some financial protection if your pet does have a medical episode.
Consider Your Child’s Age
One of the most important factors in determining which kinds of pets are suitable for your child will be their age. For children who are younger, a pet with a self-contained environment is usually best. Pets like fish and hamsters are common options for a first pet as they are easy to look after and don’t need to be regularly walked! If your child is young, then you will need to supervise them regardless of the type of pet that they choose.
Older children can usually be trusted to look after a caged pet on their own without any direct supervision. However, you should check up on their pet now and then. If you go with a larger pet like a dog, then it is at this age that kids can start to learn how to walk with the dog.
Teenagers and older can usually be trusted to look after a pet mostly or entirely on their own. This includes things like walking, grooming, and ensuring that the pet is fed every day.
Start with Something Small
If neither you nor your kids have ever owned a pet before, then it is a good idea to start with something small and simple to look after. The goldfish is a popular choice as a first pet because they involve the minimum amount of work, but it still teaches kids the importance of things like establishing a regular feeding schedule and ensuring that they are meeting the demands of their pets every day.
Small rodents and other similar pets require a little bit more effort but are still simple enough to look after for most children.Many parents who do not have experience of pet ownership will also find it helpful to start with something that is small and simple to look after. This will take a lot of the pressure off and will enable you to address any of your own concerns and anxieties before you and your child take on responsibility for a more advanced pet.
Try Out Fostering
If you aren’t sure what kind of pet you want, or whether you and your child are up to the task of looking after it, fostering is an excellent way of finding out. Fostering enables you to experience what life with a pet is like, and also enables you and your child to help out animals in need.
You can approach a local animal rescue center to ask about fostering opportunities. Not all foster animals are animals that have been abandoned or mistreated, although you can help these animals by fostering. But many foster animals are just animals who need somewhere to stay while their owners are temporarily away.
Taking on responsibility for a new pet is a significant undertaking. This is not something that you should enter into lightly, and it is important that you carefully consider the type of pet that you buy. However, as long as you make your choice carefully and are prepared to support your child with the responsibilities of pet ownership, it should be an enjoyable and enriching experience.