Has your little one been begging for a puppy or kitten? Are you debating on whether your child is ready for a pet? This can be a tricky dilemma for parents! Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses choosing your child’s first pet.
Children all mature differently, so there really is no set age when it becomes appropriate for them to get their first pet. That said, we really don’t recommend getting pets for children that are younger than five. How do you know if your youngster is ready? Doing chores or homework without being reminded is a good indication of maturity. It’s also very important that your little one treat animals with kindness and compassion.
Did you know that children can benefit from having pets? Our animal companions can teach children about friendship and empathy, and are often a source of comfort for them in hard times. Having pets can also reduce your little one’s risk of developing certain allergies.
Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment. It’s unfortunately all too common for little children to beg for pets, and then lose interest in them. Make sure that you are willing to take over the pet’s care if that happens.
As you may know, gerbils, hamsters, mice, and Guinea pigs are all popular choices for children’s pets. Goldfish are also popular. Of course, while these ‘starter pets’ don’t need as much attention as a cat or dog, they do need proper care. Every day, you or your child will need to remove your pet’s waste and give them fresh food and water. Your furry buddy’s cage (or tank) will also need to be cleaned more thoroughly every week or so. Specific care instructions vary from pet to pet, so ask your vet for more information.
Once you’ve decided to get a pet, be sure to do plenty of research, so you know what kind of care your tiny friend will need. Always supervise your child when he or she is playing with their animal companion. We recommend having your child sit down when handling their pet. That way, if the little furball accidentally gets dropped, he won’t fall very far.
Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local Fort Collins, CO vet clinic!