Pets can be great additions to the family, when we tell the story of King Sparky and his friend Paddington the Dog we always ask the children if they have any dogs of their own. If you’re thinking of getting your child a pet here are a few simple tips on how to introduce it to your little ones.
Precautions and actions parents can take in introducing pets differ by age, if you have a newborn or small baby it’s always a good idea to introduce the pet to them gradually and always under supervision. Try not to leave your pet alone with the baby and always remember to close the door to the room when the baby is sleeping. You should also be sure to stop small children from pulling on or hurting the animal as well.
Toddlers are the hardest group to teach responsible animal skills to, risk lies in both the toddler being unaware that animals can be dangerous in certain situations and the toddler themselves accidentally harming the animal. Despite any concerns about big dogs, it’s actually recommended by numerous Pet Owners Associations that large dogs are the best type of animal to have with toddlers, this is because they tend to have better temperaments than smaller dogs and are less likely to get hurt by your energetic toddler.
If you’re thinking of getting your primary school child a pet, it’s recommended that waiting until they reach 5 years old is the best time, however even then it’s unlikely that they will take care of their pet completely by themselves and will most likely need help. It’s also advised that you consider the type of pet, the RSPCA recommends that for this age it is best to get them a small pet such as a goldfish, mouse, or even a rat. At this age you can have them to maintenance such as cleaning and feeding by themselves however you may need to supervise them doing it.
If you have teens you may also think that a dog or cat may be the best choice, but it’s also recommended that teens should receive smaller animals such as hamsters or guinea pigs due to the fact that they won’t have a lot of time to spend with the animal.