Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. December 8, 2016
Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips

The bond between a pet and their owner can become very deep, and it can even be the root of a unique and long-lasting friendship and love for all animals. Many parents want to give their child a pet, but it is also a huge test of responsibility.

It is very important to educate your children to play with their pets properly, but it is equally important to teach them about the care they require in order to learn values, help them in their emotional development and make them aware of their responsibilities.

Stay with us at AnimalWised to learn all about teaching a child to care for a pet with our best guidelines and tips.

You may also be interested in: Caring for Puppy Dogs: Guidelines and Tips

Does your child ask for a pet?

Having a pet is a huge responsibility; the animal's life is in your hands. If your child asks you for a pet, you must assess their capabilities and think about what is best pet for them, as some species are easier to train and take care of than others.

What is the best pet for a child?

  • A dog is a fantastic animal that will teach your child what the word responsibility really means. If you allow your child to have a dog, you may witness a life-long bond between them that will make your child develop a deep love for all animals.

    Set a good example for your child and adopt a dog from a kennel or shelter. Here you can learn what are the best 6 dog breeds for kids.
  • A cat is often an independent animal, but an equally loving pet. Caring for a cat will not be up to the child alone, but also the entire household. As in the case of dogs, you can adopt a cat from a shelter. Here you can learn our 5 reasons to adopt a cat.
  • Birds, hamsters, rabbits and tortoises are common options that require a lower degree of responsibility. The child will still learn and have physical contact with the animal, which stimulates and benefits them both. Remember that these animals are also available to adopt both in shelters and from the Internet.
  • Fish are the easiest animals to keep. They are also visually appealing and suitable for younger children.

What to consider before giving your child a pet:

As an adult, your responsibility is to know the capabilities of your child and whether such pet will be able to adapt within the home, lifestyle, family routine, dimensions, schedules and so on.

You must teach your children the behavior and attitude they should have towards their pet. You will also be responsible for the animal's quality of life if your child does not meet its requirements properly.

Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips - Does your child ask for a pet?

Delegate responsibilities to your child

Remember that you are directly responsible for the health and care of the new pet, and that your child may not know how to fulfill all their responsibilities and duties.

We recommend that you delegate each of the duties involved in caring for an animal to your children in an orderly and varied way. Get informed about what your pet requires, from walking periods to how often should its cage or bed be cleaned, and teach each aspect to your child once they've learned the previous one.

In order to encourage responsibility and ensure that your child will meet the basic requirements of their pet, you can make them have a small notebook where they write down what their pet needs and how to fulfill each part for a good quality of life before you adopt it.

Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips - Delegate responsibilities to your child

The child's mindset

If your child asks for a exotic animal you must explain why it is not possible to keep one and the causes behind so many animals being in danger of extinction, including the reduction of their habitat, pollution, hunting, and selling as pets.

You should also make your child understand that the animal has feelings; their pet feels and suffers. This is why they should not play with their pet roughly, hurt them or get annoyed when they should not. Direct them towards a positive and respectful attitude towards animals.

Children below 12 years old are not completely responsible for their actions, and for that reason we recommend that you are always present when they interact with their pets until you're sure the games they play and the relationship they build is positive and safe for everyone.

Still, an adult being present does not ensure a good relationship between a child and their pet. It is essential to educate children in proper animal care, and it is also necessary to teach children respect for all animals. This will positively shape their relationship with their pet, but also how the child relates to people around them.

Our final tip on teaching a child to care for a pet is to teach by example. If your child sees you treat animals respectfully, lovingly and overseeing all their needs, they will grow up to do the same.

Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips - The child's mindset

If you want to read similar articles to Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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