“Please mom, can I have a dog?”
Is Your Child Ready for a Pet?
If these familiar words are ringing out in your household, you might be wondering whether or not your child is ready for a pet. When selecting a pet for your family, it’s important to take your child’s development stage into account. It’s not as simple as putting an age on it and saying, “At this age, your child could have a pet” because every child develops differently.
One 10-year-old might be ready for feeding and walking a dog, where another 12-year-old is just not ready for that kind of responsibility yet. So you also need to take into account how much care and what type of care the pet will need, and if you are going to have the time and energy needed to help out, if your child is unable to do it himself.
You also want to think of things like allergies, or if there is a family history of allergic reaction to animals. It might be a good idea to talk to your child’s doctor first before making a decision about getting a new pet. With all of this in mind, here are some signs your child might be ready for a pet.
- Your child has respect for animals. When you’ve visited with friends or been around other pets and animals, does your child show respect and proper behavior? If she does, then it’s a good sign she might be ready for a pet of her own.
- Your child is comfortable around animals. This one goes along with the previous point. Is your child skittish or does she feel comfortable around pets and animals? A child with fear is more likely to make a mistake with a pet.
- Your child is truly committed to getting a pet. Make sure this is not just a passing phase and that this is something your child is ready and willing to commit to.
- Your child is capable of handling household chores. Does he handle his current responsibilities without any issues? If so, then he might be ready for the responsibility of a pet. If you still have to remind him to brush his teeth every day, then you might not want to take the plunge to getting a pet just yet.
As we said before, every child is different and there’s no magic answer that guarantees you your child is ready for a pet. You know your own child better than anyone so at the end of the day, if you just don’t feel it’s the right time, then listen to your gut.