It seems the legion of pet loving families keeps on growing and expanding, no surprise there of course. I mean who wouldn’t want to have a furry little adorable creature to give unsolicited belly rubs and take on long reflective solo walks. No shocker most family portraits usually contain a special appearance by a very special pet, looking ever cute in the homemade mac and cheese frame.
Of course most parents didn’t wake up in the pet game, they were coerced into it by their naturally persuasive little angels. A lot of kids seek the thrill of having pets, but in most instances, they neither have the wherewithal nor the discipline to look after them. They are living creatures with life and needs as well, and they must be catered for responsibly to that effect.
We’ll be looking at a couple of ways you could help your kids become more responsible pet owners so we can drastically cut down on avoidable pet funerals in our backyards.
When choosing a pet, make sure the temperament of the animal matches your family and lifestyle. Pets can bring many years of joy if chosen correctly, and pet care can help teach children kindness and patience.
Kids tend to think of all the good, fun benefits of having a pet. Parents who are experienced, or even first-time pet owners, know there is a lot of patience, time and effort involved but that the payoff of sharing your home and life is the unconditional love a well-cared-for pet gives. It’s well worth it.
For those parents sitting on the edge, here are several positive reasons you might not have thought of to bring a pet home for your kids:
- Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
- Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.
- Kids with pets get outside more—to go for walks, run and play—and enjoy all the associated health benefits.
- Pet owners require fewer doctor’s visits.
- Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.
- Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”—to practice being caregivers.
- Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.
- Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
- Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
- Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety.
Okay so now you’ve caved in and made up your mind to get a pet after seeing the unending benefits and possibly enduring hours of having your ears talked off by your kids to get that Yorkshire…so now what next? You need to teach your kids the dos and don’ts of pet management, as it is very serious business. So to you, dear little pet owners;
CARING FOR A PET (For Kids)
Give food and water to the pet
You should start by providing the necessities for your pet, including food and fresh water. Your parents may already have a feeding schedule set up, with set times in the day for feeding your pet. You should follow this feeding schedule and ask your parents if you can help them with giving your pet food and water on a daily basis.
- You can help your parents put your pet’s food in their bowl and make sure that your pet eats all of their food. You may also be allowed to give your pet a healthy treat, with the supervision of a parent.
- Always ask your parents if it’s time to feed the pet before you do it yourself. Your pet may have a strict feeding schedule so they are not overfed or underfed.
Clean up after the pet
You can also be a good pet owner by making sure you clean up after your pet. This means picking up any food that falls out of their food bowl and wiping up any water around their water dish so their feeding area is clean. You can also pick up any pet toys and put them in a bin or in one area so they are not scattered all over the house.
- Make sure you always wear gloves or use a tissue to pick up any pet droppings. Wash your hands well after touching your pet’s droppings.
Groom the pet
You can also pitch in and groom your pet on a regular basis. Depending on the type of pet you have, this may mean brushing your dog, rabbit, or cat once a day. You may be able to do this on your own or with the supervision of your parents.
- If you have a dog, you can also make sure your pet gets a bath once a week and stays clean. You may help your parents bathe your pet or bathe your pet yourself. Make sure you use the right techniques to bath your pet.
- Do not try to bath other pets like a rabbit, a bird, a hamster or a cat. These animals can self-clean themselves and do not need regular baths.
- If your pet is a dog, you should check your pet for fleas or ticks on a daily basis. If you notice your pet has fleas or ticks, you should tell your parents.
Take your dog for daily walks
If you have a pet dog, you will need to walk them on a daily basis, especially if your dog is medium to large in size. You should create a walking schedule with your parents and assist your parents in walking your pet. You may put the collar or harness on the dog and take a turn holding the leash during the walk, with the supervision of a parent.
- If your dog is a puppy, you should only walk him a five to ten minutes a day. Ask your parents about how often you can walk your new puppy and follow their directions.
- If you have other pets, like a cat, a bird, a hamster, or a rabbit, you may not need to walk them. Instead, you should spend time playing with these pets so they still get some exercise.
Play with your pet
You should spend at least ten to fifteen minutes a day playing with your pet so they feel loved and acknowledged by you. You should also use encouraging words and reward them with a treat if they behave well.
- Make sure you use your fingers to gently pet and stroke your pet. Always be gentle when playing with your pet so you do not hurt them.
- Use pet toys to play with your pet. You may use a light pen to stimulate your pet fish or a treat to teach your bird a fun new trick. You can also use balls to play with a pet cat or a pet dog.
- Try not to play with your pet too often and give your pet some downtime during the day. Your pet needs time to nap and rest so they are not overly tired or stressed.
Follow your parent’s house rules for the pet
Your parents will likely have their own set of house rules for the pet, such as not allowing the pet on furniture or in certain areas of the house. You should make sure your pet follows these rules, even when your parents are not home. This way, your pet is not confused about the rules and is not encouraged to behave badly.
- If you are unclear about the house rules for your pet, you can ask your parents to write them down for you and post them in an accessible area, such as on the fridge or by the front door. You can then refer to the rules if you are not sure if your pet is allowed to do certain things in your house.
If you adhere to these tenets, you should have a long and healthy relationship with your pets and you wouldn’t be flushing your goldfish in a toilet bowl or digging out the yard for your beloved kitten. For more health and lifestyle tips, be sure to stay in touch with us.