There are few gifts for kids that are more thrilling and adorable than a puppy or kitten. However, it’s important before you introduce this new family member that your little ones are prepared to be responsible and considerate pet owners – a process that often takes some experience and education before children are ready for the job. Luckily, with the right strategies and pet owner gifts, your kids will soon be on their way toward having a new animal friend.
Break Out the Books
Before you make any sort of permanent commitment, you and your family should pick up some pet ownership books with advice and strategies on how to care for a new dog or cat. While many of the strategies you’ll read will be self-explanatory to you – such as regular feeding and grooming – it’s important that you take your children through the intellectual processes of understanding animals’ specific needs. Make sure to ask your little ones specific questions about how to handle certain situations like training, walking, bathing and feeding pets.
If your children are particularly young – you might want to give them time to work up to owning a larger animal. Consider picking up some fish, a turtle or a hamster to allow your kids time to become accustomed to handling a living thing. You can also help them practice routine care like daily feeding and cleaning the tanks. It might take some time for your children to get the hang of it – expect some slipups along the way – but this is a great stepping stone to owning a cat or dog.
Investigate Different Breeds
Once you’ve decided that your family is ready for a new member, you should all do some homework about various breeds to figure out which type of animal is right for your home. For instance, you wouldn’t want to get a large German Shepherd if you live in a small condo. You should also see if anyone in your family suffers from allergies to select a breed of dog or cat that won’t cause major irritation. Certain types of animals also have personality tendencies that you should keep in mind.
This isn’t necessary if you opt to own a cat, but dogs require a certain level of training to ensure they behave in your home. Signing up for obedience school is a great way to get the tips and tricks you need to train your pup from a professional, and it will also help you and your children practice basic commands.