What to Consider Before Getting a Pet for Your Kids

Some people feel like a dog or cat makes a house a home while others would prefer to keep their home free of any wagging tails or licking tongues. If you’re on the fence and thinking about bringing a pet into your family’s life, there are a few important things to consider. Check out the list of popular pets below and what you should think about before selecting one for your family!

Image via Unsplash/ Jonatan Burneo

Dogs

Dogs are often described as man’s best friend. Puppies are usually, soft, playful, and friendly but, as dogs grow up many families that adopt find that there are things they just didn’t think about before getting a dog. If you’re in the market for a puppy or older dog, consider the following before you choose to adopt:

  • Who will take care of the daily feeding and walking of the dog? Do they really have time to dedicate to this every day?
  • How will you be sure you’re adopting a dog that’s good with children?
  • Can you afford the costs associated with annual vet visits and any surprise health issues a dog might have?
  • Will your home accommodate a dog? Is there room? Are you prepared to clean up the inevitable messes a dog makes?

Cats

Many people consider cats quite a bit easier to care for than dogs. Because they’re smaller and don’t require daily walks or as much exercise as a dog, they tend to require less hands-on care time. If you’re thinking about getting a cat, consider the following before you head to the shelter to adopt:

  • Who will take care of the daily feeding and litter box needs of the cat? Do they really have time to dedicate to this every day?
  • Can you afford the costs associated with annual vet visits and any surprise health issues a cat might have?
  • What will you do if you discover that someone in your family is allergic to cats?
  • How will you ensure that your children learn to play appropriately with a delicate kitten or cat?

Fish

Fish, especially betta fish or goldfish are known as some of the easiest pets to own. Typically, all they require is someone to feed them daily and change the water in their tank at the appropriate intervals. If you thinking of getting a fish as a starter pet, consider the following:

  • Who will take care of the daily feeding of the fish? If you’re counting on your child to do this, how will you ensure they remember?
  • Who will take care of cleaning the fish tank and changing the water?
  • Since fish tend to have pretty short lifespans, do you feel prepared to navigate the death of a pet with your children?

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Hamster/ Guinea Pig

Hamsters and guinea pigs typically fall somewhere between fish and dogs or cats when it comes to how easy or difficult it is to care for them. They also tend to be a little more long lasting than a fish but don’t often live until a child goes off to college like a dog or cat might. If you’re considering getting a hamster or guinea pig, think about the following before you do:

  • Who will be responsible for their daily feeding?
  • Who will be responsible for keeping their cage clean?
  • Where will their cage be located?
  • How will you help your child learn to play appropriately with a small and delicate animal?

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What to Consider Before Getting a Pet for Your Kids

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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