Your children have been begging for a cuddly puppy or kitten, and, recently, you have been warming up to the idea too. The question is, are they ready to take on such a responsibility? Or is the feeding, grooming, walking, house training, etc. going to fall into your lap after a mere couple of weeks? Here is how to know when the time is right to welcome a new pet into your bustling household.
Consider the practical elements first
Before you even think about whether your kids are mature enough or emotionally ready to get a pet, you need to ask yourself the following practical questions:
- Can you afford to get a pet? Keep in mind that pets cost more than just that initial adoption price. You will need to pay for regular check-ups at the vet (like those at heartandpaw.com), pay for their food, pay to have them groomed, and perhaps enroll them in doggy daycare during the day when the kids are at school, and you are at work.
- Do you have the time to give the pet the attention it deserves? Dogs and cats need to be exercised and played with frequently. Therefore, you need to make sure that both you and the children have enough time on your hands to see to the pet’s physical and social needs.
- Do you have space? If your home or your yard is small, think carefully about the size of the pet that you are going to get and make sure that they will fit in comfortably once fully grown.
While age should not be the only defining factor in your decision, the age of your child or children will play a role in terms of figuring out whether they are ready to have a pet. For example, toddlers up until the age of five may enjoy having a dog or a cat around, although it is important to remember that toddlers are still learning how to be kind to animals so that they may be a bit rough at first. Plus, having a new pet and a toddler running around the house wreaking havoc at the same time can prove stressful for parents too!
If you are not overly concerned about your child or children taking full responsibility for the new pet themselves, then it is worthwhile considering getting one when they are still in grade school. It is a wonderful way in which to begin teaching them about responsibility, after all. However, the older the child, the more duties he or she is likely to be able to take on. Hence the reason why some parents will only consider bringing a pet into the home when their children reach their teenage years.
Ultimately, the decision is yours! There is no doubt that a lively ball of fur will bring plenty of joy into everyone’s lives for many years to come regardless of when you decide to take the plunge.