Things To Consider When Buying A Pet For Your Child
Are you thinking about buying a pet for your child? Before making that decision, there are things you should know and think about carefully.
Your child’s maturity level is perhaps the most important thing to consider before you buy them a pet. Most experts agree that a child under the age of five lacks the maturity to help care for a pet or understand the importance of caring for a pet. Every child matures at a different pace. How well does your child do being responsible in other areas? Are they a good listener? Do they complete their homework or chores? Are they very forgetful? Consider things like this before you decide what type of pet - or if any pet at all - is appropriate for your child.
Level of Maintenance
Pets require a lot of care; some breeds require a significant amount of care while other breeds do not. Dogs, for instance, require a lot of care. They need to be groomed, bathed, let outside, walked, fed, and paid attention to on a daily, constant basis. Pets like fish require little maintenance, as they need only be fed and have their tank cleaned occasionally. If your child has a lot of other activities, a high maintenance pet might be too much. Also remember that you will most likely end up doing a lot of the maintenance of the pet, so don’t pick something that’s too much for you to handle, too.
As mentioned above, you are going to end up caring for your child’s pet at least some of the time. Some parents end up doing all of the care when their child loses interest in the pet. Because of this, don’t get them a pet that you don’t prefer. If you are creeped out by lizards but your son is begging for one, don’t give in. If you prefer cats over dogs, get a cat. Chances are your child will be happy no matter what type of pet they have, so get something you like, too.
Cost of Care
Pets require money, how much extra money do you have to spend every month? Dogs and cats can be extremely expensive because they are also higher maintenance, while other pets are relatively inexpensive, like gerbils. Fish, for example, are very inexpensive to care for, however they can require a lot of money upfront to buy and set up their tank and supplies. Is your child willing to spend their allowance on their pet? Can you afford to let them have one?
Benefits of a Pet
If you’re quick to say no to your child who wants to get a pet, you should also consider the benefits of pets for children. Pets can provide companionship to children. They become their friends. Pets can teach children about responsibility and about caring for another living thing. They can encourage compassion, consideration, and love. While eventually they will die, and your child will be heartbroken, they can also teach your child about the circle of life. Pets can be very beneficial for all children, so think about the pros vs. cons before you make a decision.
Susan Wright is a vet and a freelance writer. Susan often shares pet care tips to gets the whole family involved