Best Pets for Kids – How to Choose a Pet and Prepare for the Responsibility
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
Children often have an innate desire to bring home—and care for—pets. For parents, it can be challenging to choose a critter that’s right for kids. A new furry family member also means learning essential lessons in responsibility. Here, Southernwind Kennels explores how to ensure your children are ready for pet ownership—and what type of pet to choose.
Plan Ahead for All Pet Types
Know that your new pet will need plenty of care, attention, and veterinary visits. If your animal becomes ill or injured, the costs for vet treatment can skyrocket. Unfortunately, most pet parents are unprepared for such emergencies, says CNBC, and dogs and cats often incur bills averaging $1,500 or more.
It’s worth looking into pet insurance even for smaller pets, as out-of-pocket costs often exceed the price of your deductible. Compare options to see what services are included and which you may need for your new pet. Look for companies that provide all-inclusive insurance that covers wellness and routine preventative care in addition to emergency care. Southernwind offers Trupanion Medical Insurance for you to enroll.
Best Pets for Kids: Choosing an Animal Friend
Kids can glean many benefits from pet ownership, notes Michigan State University. From developing patience and learning trust to growing their sense of compassion, owning a pet is a special experience for many children. Here are a few good options for kids who are ready for a pet.
Top Pet for Kids: Dogs
Dogs make excellent pets for humans of all ages. Bonding with—and caring for—dogs improves emotional well-being in people. Therefore, a dog is an ideal first pet for kids—and the entire family. That said, ensuring that your new pup is a good fit for your children’s ages, personalities, and even allergies is crucial.
As the American Kennel Club explains, the ideal dog breeds for kids are ones with plenty of patience, energy, and affection to offer. Keep breeds like beagles, Australian terriers, and Boykin spaniels in mind when selecting a dog.
Other Great Pets for Kids: Rodents and Reptiles
Two other groups of pets that are ideal for children are rodents and reptiles. Rodents—including guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, gerbils, and mice—are friendly and fun to interact with. Their shorter lifespan of two to five years is a significant drawback, however.
Reptiles are another less common yet still worthwhile first pet. Lizards, for example, make perfect pets for households with allergies. Bearded dragons, leopard geckos, skinks, and anoles can be excellent (and entertaining) animals for even young children.
Prepping Kids for Their New Family Member
Another essential part of responsible pet ownership is teaching kids how to care for their animal’s day-to-day needs.
Do Research Before Your Pet Comes Home
Whatever type of pet you decide on, encourage your children to do a “research project” to find out more about that animal. This can be especially interesting for owners of more exotic pets like snakes, birds, and ferrets. Knowing what you can and cannot feed to a pet lizard, for example, is vital for the whole family to learn.
Know Your Child’s Limits (and Abilities)
Expecting a five-year-old to walk the dog on their own each day might be unreasonable. But showing preschoolers how to scoop your pet’s food in a measuring cup is a developmentally appropriate task that helps teach responsibility. Considering your child’s abilities, age, and personality can help you choose pet ownership tasks that are fitting for them and the new pet.
You can also take steps to mitigate potential mishaps. For example, there’s a chance that your child (or even you!) might accidentally open a door that leads outside without properly securing your pet. Having a fence installed around your property can reduce the consequences of this type of accident as your pet won’t be able to go farther than the fenced-in area. A fenced yard also offers a safe place for your child and their pet to play together. For installation, look up reviews and ratings for local fencing companies on Angi.com.
Get Kids Involved in Daily Routines
With dogs (and often cats, as well), a regular schedule for feeding, walks, playtime, and baths can help everyone know what to expect. When it comes to bathing your pets, teach children to be gentle and positive, especially with rescue pets, and focus on using healthy products that are pup-safe for pampering.
Getting a new pet is an exciting time for kids—and parents, too. Thinking through the decision and sharing the responsibility together will help everyone bond with their new pet. In no time, you’ll be making memories with your family’s latest member.
Article submitted by Southenrwind - AUTHOR Ryan Goodchild