Every child grows and matures a bit differently. There isn’t any one set age that is appropriate for children to get a pet. However, we don’t recommend getting pets for children younger than four: it’s much too easy for these little ones to accidentally drop or hurt a small animal.
Things to Consider
Observe your little one’s behavior. Is your youngster responsible? Do you have to constantly remind your child to do chores or homework? Does your child display love and empathy for animals? These things are very important. If you’re not sure if your child is ready, it’s probably best to wait a bit. Or, start with something very small, like a goldfish.
Before bringing an animal into your home, make sure that you are willing to take over your furry buddy’s care if needed. It’s unfortunately not uncommon for kids to beg, plead, and bargain for a pet, only to lose interest. This can be very sad, because adopting an animal, only to rehome it, can be very traumatic for the pet.
Set some ground rules for the pet’s feeding and care. If your child is responsible for providing fresh food and water, make sure it’s being done on time. We strongly recommend supervising your pet’s care, as well as any interactions between the child and pet, at least at first.
Choosing A Pet
Once you’ve decided to go ahead, the next step is to choose an appropriate pet. A goldfish is a good option! Gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs are all very popular choices for children, and with good reason. These little guys are really very cute, and are typically quite gentle. They also don’t take up a lot of room, and, since they spend most of their time in their tanks or cages, don’t make much of a mess. It also doesn’t hurt that they are quite inexpensive and have fairly short lifespans. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Do you have questions about caring for your pet? We can help! Please contact us, your local Omaha, NE animal clinic, anytime!