Taking Steps To Ensure Your Children Are Ready For A Pet

85 million American families own a pet, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, the Huffington Post reports that more than one million households give up their pets every year. Introducing a pet into your home provides many benefits to young children, including positively impacting their health and social skills. But, before you head to your local animal shelter and pick out a new family pet, it’s essential that you consider whether your kids are really ready for the responsibility.
Carry out a trial run
Ask around your friends, family, and neighbors to see if any of them are going on vacation soon and need a pet sitter. This provides the perfect opportunity to witness how your children behave with an animal in their home. Be sure to allocate tasks to your children to give them a sense of responsibility for the pet. Young children can help you serve up a pet's dinner. Meanwhile, older children should be given the task of cleaning up the mess that animals make so that they understand all the aspects of pet ownership. The Humane Society advises that feces is removed daily from a cat's tray. Thankfully, there is a range of top litters for easy scooping which can help to make a cat's litter tray fresh all day long.

Start small
The majority of U.S families opt for a dog or cat when choosing a pet, with dogs coming out on top at 60.2%. However, these pets require greater care and attention than smaller pets. If you have any concerns about whether your child is ready for a pet, consider opting for a hamster, guinea pig or goldfish. These all require your child's love, care, and attention and you'll be able to gauge how much interest your child has in pet ownership without worrying about daily walks or extensive grooming regimes.

Set expectations
Having never had a pet before, your child will be unsure about what they need to do with any pet that enters your home. Therefore, before you introduce a dog, cat, rodent or reptile, make it clear to your child that you expect them to play with your pet, help with grooming and cleaning duties. It's important to make it clear that the pet will be a permanent feature in your home too. If they seem up for the challenge, then you can be confident that your child is ready for a pet. Should they display disinterest, then it's best to hold off until they're a little more mature.

Taking on a pet is a big responsibility and you should always ensure that your children are ready for the change a pet will bring to their lives. By pet sitting, starting small and setting expectations, you'll be able to gauge whether now is the right time or not.

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