Is Your Child Finally Ready for a Cat or Dog?

Whether your child is interested in a furry, new best friend or is tired of his pet hamster and ready for something bigger, bringing a cat or dog into the family is a big step that everyone must be prepared for. Knowing if your family is truly ready can be tricky, but here are some indicators that your child is prepared for the new addition.

Your Child is Comfortable Around and Respects Animals

One of the main indicators that a child is not ready for a pet is if they are afraid of them. Getting a dog will not cure your child’s fear of dogs. In fact, not only could that make the phobia worse, you may end up in the unfortunate position of returning the poor dog back to the shelter.

Introducing your child to pets of friends and other family members is a great way to get him used to being around animals. Family trips to visit the animal shelter will also cause your child to grow accustomed to being around cats and dogs. It’s a good idea for your kids to spend time with older dogs that tend to be calmer rather than rambunctious pups that may scare the children.

Along with conquering the fear of animals, your child must also understand that there are rules of appropriate behavior that they must follow when dealing with pets. For example, your child must understand that pets are to be touched gently and not pulled or tugged by the tail. Some children may be eager to interact with pets but not know the appropriate manner in which to do so. Kids must also understand when it’s time to leave an animal alone.

Your Child Helps Out Around the House

Kids who have chores at home have an understanding of responsibility. When deciding on if it’s a good idea to add a pet to the family, you must find out what level of responsibility your child is ready for. If your child is helpful and knows how to take care of his obligations, no matter how small, he may be ready for a pet.

You are Prepared to Take on the Responsibility

In the end, when deciding to get a pet, the whole family should be on board. Owning a pet is such a rewarding experience, but if there isn’t support from the entire family, it probably won’t work out. The adults in the family must also be aware that ultimately the responsibility should fall on them to ensure that the cat or dog is safe and well taken care of.

Children should be able to participate in caring for the pet but should not assume the responsibility of the primary caretakers. That is why even if your child is excited to finally get a cat or dog, if you are not yet ready, then it’s not the right time.