There is not one set of hard and fast rules that dictate when all families are ready for a pet. Rather, these exists a set of 10 solid considerations you need to examine individually to ascertain whether the time has come for your family to welcome a pet into its midst.
Your Child Appears Comfortable Around Animals
A common mistake people make when deciding to get a pet is to maintain getting a pet will “cure” a child’s fear of animals. That most definitely is putting the cart before the horse.
The proper course is to ensure that your child appears comfortable around animals before you introduce a pet into your home. The reality is that a fearful child is more apt to make mistakes around a pet. In addition, a pet oftentimes can feel a child’s fear and may respond to it in a negative manner.
Your Child Respects Animals
Before you bring a pet home, you need to be absolutely certain that your child has a healthy respect for animals. This includes having a keen understanding of when and how pets should be touched. A child needs to have a level of self control sufficient enough to understand when a pet must be left alone.
Your Child Does Chores
Another sign that the time may be right to add a pet to your family is after your child demonstrates a willingness and commitment to do chores and assigned tasks in the household. The fact that your child is doing chores is indicative that he or she may also be at point where he or she readily will partake in pet care.
Your Child Brushes Teeth Without Reminders
This might not sound like a major deal, but if your child has reached the juncture where he or she brushes teeth without reminders, he or she may be at the point at which assisting in the care of a pet is a reasonable, realistic expectation.
Your Child is Committed to Having a Pet
You need to make certain that your child’s desire to have a pet is not some sort of passing fad or desire. Your child needs to understand that brining a pet into the home is a long term commitment. A pet is not something that can be returned when caring for the companion animal feels a bit like a chore.
Your Child Wants a Pet that is a Good Fit with the Family
Your child needs to have reached a point in his or her own like at which he or she recognizes that not all animals are a good fit for your family. A consideration that the time has arrived when your family is ready for a pet is when your child has made this realization that only certain pets will fit with your family’s situation. For example, dogs require a greater time investment than do cats.
Your Child Has Appropriate Energy
Depending on the type of pet being considered, your child will need to have an appropriate amount of energy to care for and play with the pet. For example, a dog needs to be played with, even walked. Your child needs to have the energy to undertake these tasks, even after a day at school or after being involved in other types of activities.
Test the Idea of Pet Ownership
Before diving into pet ownership head first, your family might want to consider giving it something of a dry run. For example, if your family is thinking of getting a dog, spend some time dog sitting. Cat sitting doesn’t really work because the slightest change to a cat’s environment can alter the animal’s normal patterns of behavior.
Everyone is on Board
In the final analysis, you need to make sure the entire family is on board. If there is someone in your family that has strong, sincere, and reasonable concerns about bringing a pet into the household at this time, their feelings need to be considered and respected.
Parents Need to be Ready to Take on Responsibility
Even if your child shows clear signs that he or she is ready to take care of a pet, you need to be prepared to assume full responsibility if your child falters in this regard after a pet comes into your home. In the end, you have to assume that you will end up the primary caretaker of a pet, with your child participating along the way. In the end, that is the typical turn of events when it comes to pet ownership in a household with children.
Jessica Kane is a writer for Handicapped Pets, your most trusted source for dog wheelchairs and harnesses.