Pets play a vital role in a family’s life, but it’s important to know when to bring an animal into your home. Introducing a pet into your home’s environment before you’re ready can cause complications for both your family and the new pet. Take a look at the following nine signs to ensure your children are ready for a pet.
1. Your children are comfortable around animals
Don’t get a pet to cure your children’s fear of animals. A fearful child could easily make mistakes that result in injury and deep-seated fear of animals. Instead of bringing a pet into such environment, take your child to a friend’s home or an animal shelter to get familiar with animals. Don’t force the child to pet or touch the animal while you’re there; give him room to observe the animals and let your example be the guide on how to interact with pets. Consider getting a pet only after your child feels comfortable around animals.
2. Your children are respectful to animals
Children must understand the guidelines for proper behavior around animals. They need to know that hitting and tugging are not appropriate. Pets should be left alone while they’re eating, and interactions should only be encouraged on the pet’s terms. Your children should understand that there will be times when they must give the animal some space and freedom.
3. Your children take responsibility seriously
If your children neglect their household chores, they’ll most likely neglect their pet-related responsibilities. Teach your children to take their responsibilities seriously, and they’ll be ready to take care of the pet when it arrives.
4. Your children take care of their personal hygiene without prompting
Does your child brush his teeth and take a bath without reminders? This is a good way to determine your children’s level of maturity and their ability to take care of a pet. If you expect the children to assume primary responsibility for pet care, then you should wait until they reach early teens to get a pet. Younger children will be able to assist with a few essential tasks, but they cannot manage some tasks, such as training and exercise.
5. Your children are committed
Your children should be committed to caring for a pet in the long haul. If their request for a pet is just another whim, then you’ll be stuck caring for the pet on your own. Get a pet only if your children are truly committed and recognize what ownership entails.
6. Your children want a pet that’s a good fit for your family
The pet your children want must be a right fit for your family. For instance, consider your space and the time available to commit to pet care. Birds need a lot of attention and care while cats are not as needy. You’ll need to have sufficient space for a dog, especially if you’re choosing a large breed, and time to take it for regular walks. Also consider your children’s age; a toddler could easily crush a small animal to death.
7. Your children are energetic
Some pets are especially advantageous for energetic children. For instance, you could help an active child expend a lot of extra energy by running in the park or backyard with an active dog. Older children could take the dog for a walk around the block so everyone benefits from the exercise.
8. Your family passed a pet ownership trial run
Volunteer to pet sit for a weekend, so your children will get a feel for what pet ownership entails. Get a dog or a bird and see how your family adjusts to having a pet added to your home’s environment. Cats are not particularly good in these situations as changing environments cause undue stress, which can alter the cat’s mood and pose challenges.
9. You’re ready to take responsibility
No matter your children’s age, you must be prepared to take full responsibility for the animal. All the adults in the home must be prepared to pitch in when the children fall short in their responsibilities. Even if your children show signs of readiness and commitment, you should not get the pet if you’re not committed to taking responsibility. Pets are a massive part of many people’s lives and having responsible kids to look after your pets makes everything a lot easier. But it shouldn’t stop there. If you have recently got a new dog as a new edition to the household, the best dog trainers in Los Angeles (if you live in and around this area) will help get your dog trained effectively and successfully. There’s nothing wrong in asking for a bit of help, especially when it comes to looking after your pets.
Pet ownership offers numerous benefits. Pets are loyal companions, and they help children learn lessons in responsibility, self-control, and emotional maturity. However, you should only get one when your family is ready for it. Talk to a vet or professional at an animal shelter to help you make the right decision and make pet ownership a joyous one.