What to Do Before Getting Your Child a Pet

Your child may have been nagging you for months or even years about getting a pet, and you might finally have decided that they’re ready for pet ownership. However, even if you feel that your family is prepared to introduce a furry friend into your home, this doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily an easy thing to do, and you might still struggle to think of everything that you need to do before getting your child a pet.

What to Do Before Getting Your Child a Pet

If this is the case, here are some of the steps that you need to take before making your child a pet owner in 2023 and beyond.

Discuss Responsibilities

Before you even tell your child that a pet is coming home with you, you need to sit down with them and have a serious discussion about the responsibilities of pet ownership. You should make it clear to them that owning a pet isn’t just fun and games and having a cute animal to pet, but that it can also be frustrating and challenging.

This is also the point when you should discuss the role that they’ll need to take on and the chores that they’ll be expected to perform for their pet, such as feeding and walking them. These tasks will depend on how old your child is. However, even if you discuss this with them, you should still be prepared to take on a lot of the responsibility for your pet yourself, especially since your pet should never suffer simply to teach your kid’s responsibility.

You also need to talk to them about the house rules once you have a pet, including that your children shouldn’t corner the pet in question and should let the pet have their own space when they need it.

Find the Right Type of Pet

You need to make sure that you’re introducing the right type of pet to your home, though, and that you’re not investing in one that you and your children won’t be able to handle. For instance, if you’re considering buying a dog, you should ensure that the breed of dog you want to get is happy to live with children, is relaxed, and is patient. You should also ensure that the pet in question is easy to care for and that they have hypoallergenic fur if your child has a pet allergy.

Getting a pet from a shelter can sometimes work in your favor in cases like these. Although this pet might have a few issues and be a little nervous, you’ll be able to learn about their specific temperament before you decide to bring them home, and you’ll usually be offered support from the shelter to make sure the adoption works for you and your family.

Think About Your Lifestyle

It’s also vital that you think about your lifestyle when you’re investing in a pet. For instance, you should look for a pet that will match your activity levels and the amount of time that you have to give to it. You might look for a pet that won’t tie you down, and one that doesn’t need constant attention, especially if your children are quite young and demanding.

Once you’ve done this, you can think about how best to introduce your pet into your routine and fit its needs around those of your family. For instance, you might take them on a walk on your way back from the school run, or on your way to pick your kids up, and you might feed your pet after putting your children to bed, and once they’re out of the house in the morning. This can ensure that your pet doesn’t add more stress and hassle to your life and that you don’t end up resenting them.

For example, one concern many pet owners have surrounds what to do with their pets when on vacation or away from home. Some pets, like cats or rabbits, can be cared for by someone popping in on them to feed them, clean them, give them any needed medication, and maybe provide some love and company while you’re away. But other pets, like dogs, are more complicated.

A dog typically can’t be left alone for long periods without getting distressed, and most dog owners don’t like to leave their dogs overnight. A stressed dog can cause damage to your property and even hurt themselves, as dogs have higher needs. So, explore different options. Dog-sitters allow you to go away with less worry, or you might decide to board your dog in a kennel temporarily.

But many families choose to take their dogs with them. In this case, it can be hard to find somewhere with a fenced-in yard for your dog to be safe. The good news is that you can widen your options by using something known as a wireless fence, or a GPS collar. This allows you to set up temporary fencing for dogs no matter where you are, whether you’re on vacation or just out and about, so you can keep your furry friends safe.

Take Out Pet Insurance

If you want to keep your pet safe and healthy, it’s vital that you take out pet insurance for your animal. By taking out pet insurance, you’ll be ensuring that you can cover their medical bills and that you don’t come unstuck if they suddenly fall ill. An alternative could be opening up a bank account specially for your pet and putting money into it every month.

You should take out pet insurance as soon as you can, as many insurance companies don’t cover bills that are associated with pre-existing conditions, and this will also mean that your pet is covered from the very first day they enter your home. Then, you should look around for dog or cat insurance that suits you and your pet’s needs, and that you can trust it to pay out when you need it.

Consider a Trial Run

You might also consider a trial run when it comes to introducing a pet into your home. Rather than adopting a pet and having to give it up after a few weeks, you should ask your family and friends whether you might be able to look after their pet for them when they go on vacation. This can help you to judge how your children get on with pets around the house and allows you to give the animal back afterward.

You might also opt to get your child a small animal at first, such as a hamster or a guinea pig as these are usually easier to care for and can give you an idea of whether your children will simply lose interest or not. You need to take into account that owning a cat or a dog is vastly different from owning a rodent, though, especially if they’re the type of pet that your child particularly wants.

Pets and children can make great friends, and owning a pet can be a pivotal and important experience in your child’s life. By following this guide, you’ll be able to prepare your children for pet ownership, while also ensuring that you and your house are ready for a pet and all of the challenges that this furry friend could bring.

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