At some point, almost every child asks that all time famous question. “Can I have a pet?” While owning a pet fosters responsibility and compassion, some children are just not ready to help take care of a pet. It is a huge responsibility and one that must be given careful thought.
There are many things you should consider as a family.
What kind of pet?
What kind of pet would fit into your lifestyle best? There are many options from large dogs to little fish. You should carefully consider the needs of each and what you think will fit into your lifestyle as well. The happiest pet is one with happy owners that don’t feel stressed by its care and needs. You should study into types as well as breeds so you know exactly what to expect breeds.
Can you afford the addition of a pet?
Now that you have decided on a type of pet. You need to consider the cost of owning a pet. Pets even if you are given on free are very expensive. If you have a dog or a cat there will be vet visits, food, licensing, toys and supplies and if your pet should become sick there are medications they may need. Owning a pet is very expensive.
Do you have the time?
Animals require attention just like we do as human beings. The need to be fed, groomed, walked, played with. They need to know they are loved. Without proper care, they will suffer. Families that are going through major changes such as a move or birth of a child or that work long hours may just not have the time.
Do you live in an apartment? Is a pet OK with your landlord? Will you have to pay a separate pet deposit? Do you have space? Is there room in the back yard for a pet to roam? Are there laws in your area regarding scooping and licensing? What are they?
Is he or she ready? Owning a pet is a family matter. Never surprise your child with a pet they are not expecting. Expectations about the care and exercise of the pet should be laid out clearly. Many children lose interest in a pet after the first few weeks and leave mom and dad to care for the pet. Pets require gentle handling and understanding do you think your child is ready for that? How do they react to animals you see out in public? Are they rough, or afraid? It may be better if they learn some animal care before you add a pet to your home. Visits to the local animal shelter are a wonderful start and often the staff is willing to teach basic animal care to children.
A pet is a huge commitment. Many pets live for at least 15 years with proper care. Will you still want this commitment then? Puppies, kittens and such are cute, but they grow and have needs that must be met.