Should You Get Your Child a Pet?


At some point in most parents’ lives, their children will ask them for a pet. “Can we keep it?” is bound to be heard sooner or later, whether it is in reference to a frog, cat, or raccoon. In most cases, children will ask this question about more animals than most people could logically or realistically take care of, so it is important to think hard about how many, if any, pets you would be willing and able to take on. Having a pre-game plan will help you to approach the issue with insight and logic so that you are not surprised into agreeing to take in a pet that you cannot keep.

Benefits of Raising Children with Pets

Pets can help children to learn compassion and responsibility while giving them a faithful friend for years. Pets can also provide lessons about life, as children may see their pets reproduce, become injured or sick, and even die. While these may not be fun lessons to teach or learn, they will help children gain a deeper understanding of these difficult subjects. Pets also provide a connection to nature and teach children how to love and appreciate other living things.

Choosing the Appropriate Pet

It may be best to start children off with a lower maintenance pet at first, such as a goldfish or hamster to see how well they take care of their pet. After they have shown that they can help with feeding and cleanup duties, you may wish to move on up and get a dog, cat, or other higher maintenance animal. Consider you accommodations and lifestyle to make sure that you will be able to put in the time and money that pet ownership requires.

Doing Your Due Diligence

Before you get a pet, make sure to do your due diligence. Many people get puppies, only to later realize that their housing and familial structure is not compatible with the large dog that that puppy eventually becomes. Some people also get pets and later realize that their rental agreements don’t allow for pets or their travels make pet care difficult. Getting rid of an animal that has come to be thought of as part of the family is not fair to the animal or the children, so research in advance to avoid this heartbreaking situation.

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