How to Choose the Perfect Pet for Your Child

black and white photo of a kitten in the arms of a girl
*Collaborative Post

It’s a moment that many parents dread. Your kid is just old enough to talk, and they’ve been obsessed with the latest animal cartoons on TV. Suddenly, they turn to you and they know exactly what they want for birthday/Christmas/any other excuse they can come up with. They want a pet. It’s usually something fluffy and cute, but sometimes it can be other requests – a snake, a goldfish, an elephant (children’s minds work in mysterious ways). Of course, whether to get a pet depends entirely on your family’s circumstance and your own best judgement. However, though it may seem daunting, getting a pet can be a great way to teach your kid some fantastic life lessons, as well as socialising them and giving them a friend for life. Choosing the right pet is the first important step, and here are some tips to help with that decision.

 

Personality

Just like children have vastly different personalities, different animals have very individual characters depending on species, upbringing and their own instincts. Although it can vary between individuals, there are species which have certain traits that are more recommended to have around small children, for example, a dog. It’s a good idea to get an animal that can be playful but also relaxed and won’t mind a bit of the rough and tumble that can come with excitable young kids! There are some great dog selector quizzes online which can direct you towards the ideal breeds given all your circumstances, or have a look at some other alternatives like cats or even lizards if your child is more hands-off or shy.

 

Adopting

Adopting versus buying is the greatest pet debate since dogs versus cats. First things first,  whether you’re adopting or buying, it’s always a good idea to get your new pet to the vet as soon as possible to check their general health and vaccinations, rather than blindly trusting either the breeder or adoption centre. Adopting can be great if you don’t want to risk an unknown quantity appearing in your lives. If you pick up a tiny puppy from a litter, there’s no way of knowing whether he will be particularly friendly when he grows up. With an adoption centre, you can make as many visits as you want and really get to know your potential pet before inviting it into your home. It’s also a good chance for you to see how your children interact with the animals and make sure they feel comfortable and happy.

 

Care and Needs

All species have different levels of care required, so this is a super important consideration when getting a new pet. You need to consider how busy your lives are and where a new pet will fit into that. Don’t worry – it’s not as much work or time as when you have a new child! – but it should still be part of your decision making. A large dog will need plenty of outdoor exercise, whereas a cat is much more low maintenance but still needs play and stimulation. Even goldfish will need their tank cleaning, and with something more obscure like an indoor Giant Rabbit (look them up, they’re incredible) you’ll need to make sure all your wires are safely tucked away.

 

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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