How to choose a pet for children – Part 1

When choosing a pet for your child, you should remember to take into consideration several factors.

For one, you should make sure your child is aware of all the responsibilities that come with having a pet. Most children will readily agree to take on these responsibilities at first. However, over time, parents usually find themselves doing most of the job, which may be a problem. This is particularly the case with younger children, for example, a 7 or 8 year old.

It is therefore essential that you choose a pet that you and/or your child are/is able to care for. If you think you and your child are unable to dedicate enough time to raising a lively puppy, you should try to find a less time consuming pet to get for your child.

Dogs, one of the most popular choices for pets, are also one of the most troublesome ones. So while your child is begging you for a puppy, think through it seriously. Can you handle having a hyperactive ball of fur jumping around the house? Keep in mind that keeping a dog requires a lot of time, energy as well as money. It must be taken for regular walks, given regular baths and meals, as well as regular visits to the vet. If you feel that you and your child will be able to share these responsibilities and cope well with them, then go ahead, for dogs are extremely good company for both children and adults.

Another popular choice would be a cat. Cats are not as demanding as dogs, but are still much more responsive as compared to pets such as fish. They are clean animals and do not require baths if their fur is short. Cats with longer fur would require help in grooming to keep their coat clean and presentable. They do not need to be walked and will clean up after themselves after excreting, unless it is kept in the house. In this case, cat litter will have to be cleared daily, which is an easy, relatively clean task which children should be able to carry out. However, cats are not as loving as dogs are, and may be cold and unresponsive at times.

Smaller pets which are less likely to poop, pee or scratch your furniture include hamsters, mice, rabbits and such. Hamsters seem to me to be an ideal choice for children. All they require is their food bowls and water bottles to be kept full. Cages can be cleaned once every few weeks. They are cute and small and undemanding. However, hamsters are definitely not as good companions as dogs and cats are, and the bond between owner and pet is definitely not as strong.

Turtles, lobsters, crabs and fish are other options one might want to consider. However, there is even less interaction between owner and pet in this case and they may be seen as more “boring” pets.

Overall, i think it is a very good idea to get children pets as it teaches them compassion towards animals and also teaches them how to be responsible. However, as a parent, you should always consider seriously the commitment you and your child must have, before getting a pet. Pets cannot be shelved away like toys once your child has “grown out of it”.

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