Thinking About Getting Your Child a Pet? Here’s What You Should Know
Pet ownership comes with many benefits, not just for adults, but for children, too. Taking care of pets can build responsibility and self-esteem. Of course, just because there are benefits doesn’t mean it’s an easy decision. Here are the things you’ll need to take into consideration if you want to add a pet to the family.
Your Child’s Commitment
If you want to know whether your child is ready for a new pet, then it depends on how committed they are to the animal’s care. According to Care.com, you can gauge this commitment by how much your child cares about animals they have come in contact with. It’s also a good sign if your child does well with handling their household chores. In case you haven’t given them any significant chores yet, consider assigning a few age-appropriate tasks to see how they do. For example, two- and three-year-olds can help clean up messes, while four and five-year-olds can help with clearing the table and cooking. It’s also important for the entire family to be on board, as everyone will need to pitch in until your child is able to carry the full responsibility.
The Time Commitment
Any pet will need some of your time which can include training, exercise, and maintenance. On the fairly low end of the scale, guinea pigs need about fifteen minutes of maintenance per day. You’ll need the time to replenish their food, play with them and clean their cages. Puppies, on the other hand, need a lot of attention and your child will need to take them out for walks daily. According to Canna-Pet, training a puppy can take about 20 minutes of your daily time from six months to three years. Kittens are a bit more independent, but you’ll still need to dedicate time to get them well-trained. For both puppies and kittens, you should also think about the time that will be spent cleaning up after them, including keeping up with hair and stain removal. If there are some stains that you can’t remove, you may have to leave room in your budget for hiring a professional carpet cleaner (typically this costs $120 – $226 in the Las Vegas area).
The Space Commitment
Another vital determining factor is how much space you have available. Some pets will need their own habitats and enclosures, so you’ll need to know what they require. Tortoises start out small, but their enclosures are larger than you think as they need to move around. Even a small one requires an enclosure that’s 8 feet by 4 feet. According to The Rabbit House, the recommended size for a rabbit habitat is 12 square feet, but these animals are happier with more, considering they need space to exercise. If you can’t give them a habitat with exercise space, then you or your child will need to take them outside. While they don’t need enclosures, cats and dogs still need personal space. It will need to be a quiet space that accommodates their size.
The Financial Commitment
This is a big one, and it’s often where you’ll strike a balance between pets that don’t require much time but quite a bit of your money. This can include pets like rabbits, hamsters, and turtles who don’t need a lot of attention but need costly habitats. For dogs and cats, costs can vary depending on the breed, what they eat and how often they need to see the vet. You should factor in their accessories like bedding and toys. Preventative care is also important, so you’ll need things like flea and tick collars (available for under $10) that will protect your cat or dog from biting insects that can carry harmful diseases. When you’re shopping for collars, make sure to get one that is durable, suitable for the pet’s size and age, and water-resistant. If your child is getting an allowance, this could be a good time to teach them about budgeting so they can address smaller costs like food or toys.
Getting your child a new pet can be a big decision, but it can definitely be worth it. Before welcoming a pet into your home, make sure everyone is ready to meet the challenges and lend a hand when necessary. Don’t be pulled into getting a popular pet if you know they’re not the right fit.
Article by Brandon @Furandfeathers.info