5 Signs Your Family is Ready for a Pet
There’s no denying that bringing a pet into the home is extremely beneficial for children and parents alike. Cats and dogs, especially, bring unconditional love and companionship. But how do you know if your family is ready to become pet owners? Along with the love and joy that pets bring, comes responsibility. Here are 5 ways you can tell that your family is ready for a pet.
This is one of the most important things to consider before owning a pet. Your children should love and respect animals. If your child has a fear of large dogs, cats, or any other animals, you may want to reconsider pet ownership. Don’t be fooled into thinking that owning a pet will eliminate that fear. One is not a remedy for the other. But you can take steps to help your child feel more comfortable around animals. Allow them to visit a friend with an older, calmer dog. Visit petting zoos where your child can touch and feed animals behind the safety of a fence. Take baby steps to get your child used to being around animals.
When it comes to respect, your child must realize that animals have feelings and rights too. Animals need personal space and consideration, just like humans. Teach your child to as a pet owner prior to petting, holding, or touching their animal. This shows respect for the animal’s comfort level and makes for a safe, pleasant interaction. Make sure that your child understands pets are not toys or things to be ignored or mistreated. Pets also need love, affection, and positivity.
A child’s attention span is naturally short. Their desire for a new toy or pair of sneakers usually fades over time as their interest moves to something else. It’s important that your child’s desire for a pet is long lasting and not simply a fleeting moment. It’s no surprise that after your child sees an adorable puppy or kitten that they instantly want one of their own. What your kids need to understand is that dogs don’t stay puppies forever. And while having a pet is a lot of fun, there’s also work involved. All too often children lose interest in their new pet when they realize it’s not all about snuggles and kisses (although there’s plenty of that too!)
This point stems from the last. Not only is there work involved with pet ownership, but responsibility as well. It’s difficult for small children to understand everything that comes with owning a pet. It’s also impractical for parents to expect younger kids to partake in all of the responsibilities. Older children can help by walking the dog or letting them outside, feeding them, and taking them outside for play time and exercise. A good indicator of whether or not your children are responsible enough for a pet is if they complete their own daily tasks without complaining or being reminded. Things like brushing their teeth, making their bed, or taking out the garbage. If your kids can handle these chores, chances are they won’t forget to feed or walk the family pet.
It’s not always easy for families to agree on one thing. Whether it’s what movie to watch, where to go on vacation, or something as simple as what’s for dinner. Choosing a family pet is a big decision and one that everyone should agree on. There are several factors that go into the decision including how much space you have, your work schedule, or any allergies, just to name a few. It’s important that your kids understand that choosing a pet isn’t just about making them happy. You need to come together to choose the right pet that is the best fit for everyone. This understanding comes with age and maturity, which is another sign that your family may or may not be ready for pet ownership.
The best way to determine if your family is ready for a pet is to practice being pet owners. You can do this by offering to pet sit for a family member, friend, or neighbor. Does your child willingly come along to help feed and clean up after the pet or do they forget they’re even supposed to? Take this trial run one step further and offer to pet sit in your own home. This will give your family first-hand experience being full-time pet owners. Does the novelty of pet ownership wear off after a few days? Do your children become more inconvenienced by the animal than engaged? These are all signs that your family may not be ready for pet ownership.
Pet ownership can be both challenging and rewarding. But in order to experience all of the wonderful things that accompany having a pet, you must first ensure that your family is prepared for the responsibility. The good news is, even if your children are too young now to bring home an animal with time, age, and maturity, they may grow to be the perfect little pet owners!
About the author:
Kim is a wife, mother, and animal lover. She is the proud mom of 2 beautiful girls and one very fat cat, Boots. Kim enjoys writing, yoga, traveling, and volunteering at her local animal shelter.
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