4 Signs Your Kids Are Ready for a Pet
Adopting an animal is a major life decision, and one that impacts everyone in your household. While you, and maybe your partner, know that it’s time to bring a furry friend home, you have to consider that your kids also need to be ready to help care for a pet, too.
So how do you know? While it varies from family to family, here are 4 common signs your kids are ready for a pet:
Your Child is Comfortable Around Animals
Bringing a pet home should not be your way of getting your children over their fear of animals. You should be confident that your child knows how to treat the new animal – with care and respect. Some children, especially younger ones, do not understand how to handle animals (be it cats, dogs, or small critters).
Make sure you have seen your child around animals of all sizes and that you can be sure bringing in a pet will not create anxiety or a negative reaction. Talk to your kids and make sure they understand the proper way to love their pets. If you sense hesitation or fear, maybe waiting for them to have more interaction with others’ pets before adopting your own would be the best action to take.
Your Child Can Be Trusted with Household Tasks
Taking care of a new pet is a big responsibility, so if your child cannot be counted on to do his share of chores, he may not be mature enough for a pet. That being said, if your kid knows how to be reliable, whether that is shown through taking out the trash every Thursday or emptying the dishwasher without being asked, he may be ready for the added responsibility of an animal!
You’ll want to have a conversation with your children (and other members of the household) regarding caretaking expectations. Who will feed your new animal? Who will clean up its messes? Who will exercise it? Creating tasks for everyone to share will make it easier for your children (and yourself) to remain responsible while giving your new pet diligent care.
Your Child Understands the Commitment of Having a Pet
Adopting a pet is a big commitment – your child should know that you are bringing this animal into your home for the length of its life, not just for as long as your child is interested in it. Help your kid look at it as though she is gaining a new best friend, and for her to keep that friend around, she has to work very hard to make sure that friend is cared for.
If your child does end up getting “bored” of your new pet, you want to set an example and be prepared to keep the pet. This is a great lesson for your child that responsibilities don’t just disappear; hopefully, instead of remaining bored, your child will understand this and become active again in taking care of your pet and continue to form a relationship with it.
You Understand Your Role in Raising the Pet
No matter how ready your child may be, you have to be prepared to carry most of the burden of caring for your new pet. As the adult (or adults), you are more responsible, more knowledgeable, and (especially relevant when it comes to dogs) stronger. By being the adult, you will be in charge of most of the pet’s care. Of course you may delegate that care, but be prepared to “micromanage” while your kids are getting used to the added responsibility of an animal in the house.
Overall, bringing a pet into your home is a daunting and exciting task. Do your research on figuring out what pet will be best for you and your family, and make sure everyone is ready for their new responsibilities. Once you’ve thought through these steps, enjoy the fun of having a new family member join your household!
Exceptional Veterinary Care in Potomac, MD
At Falls Road Veterinary Hospital, nothing makes us happier than seeing happy families and their healthy, loved pets. We are always happy to answer questions about your new pets and helping everyone adjust to life. Contact us for more information or to schedule your new pet’s first checkup 301-983-8400!