Has your little munchkin started asking for a puppy? Are you wondering whether the time is right for a new four-legged, furry family addition? Determining when to get your child their first pet can be a bit tricky. One the one hand, children can reap some great physical and emotional benefits from having a pet.
Pets provide playmates, friendship, unconditional love and loyalty, and plenty of cuddles, all of which are wonderful things for a child to experience. On the other hand, getting a pet prematurely can have severe repercussions, both for your family and the puppy. In this article, your vet offers some things to consider when deciding if your child is ready for a canine pal.
If your child begs for a puppy one day, and then seems to forget about the request, it may not be time yet. Wait until you start getting steady, repeated requests.
Evaluate your child’s temperament. Does he or she act mature and responsible? You may find some telling signs in day-to-day matters. Does your child need to be reminded constantly to clean his or her room, or finish their homework? If so, you may want to wait a few years.
Does your child love animals, and display true empathy for them? Make sure your child understands that puppies are not toys that can be discarded, but living beings with feelings and needs.
If your little one is always on the go with sports, scouts, or other activities, he or she simply may not have time to care for a puppy.
It’s always best to start small, with a pet that needs minimal care. Try a virtual pet first. If that works out, consider getting a pocket pet or goldfish, which won’t require as much attention.
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to take over Fido’s care if things go south? The burden of responsibility will be on you if your child loses interest, which unfortunately happens quite often. Giving up the pet will set a bad example: your child should understand that taking on a pet entails keeping that animal for its entire lifespan. Remember, the love of a pet is a truly beautiful gift, but it can only be given by the animal.
Contact us for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!