Parenthood can be a magical experience, but it isn’t easy. Taking care of your little ones can be a difficult task, especially when they get their minds set on something. Many children have a love for animals and spend months, or even years, begging their parents to get them a pet.
Children don’t always realize the responsibility that comes along with taking care of a pet. It’s the reason that so many bunnies are returned after being bought for children as Easter presents, and it’s a shame. Pets can be a wonderful way to teach your children about responsibility, empathy, and caring for others.
Unless your children are old enough to handle it, most of the care is going to fall on you. There are a few things you should consider before heading out to the pound to choose your new fur baby.
Pets come with a lot of responsibility. Children may want a dog because they’re a cute, cuddly companion, but those feelings of awe and excitement won’t last forever. That honeymoon period is likely to end once they realize the full extent of what it means to be a pet owner.
Cleaning out cages or picking up droppings in the yard are tasks that your children are likely going to dread once they get used to having a pet. Neglecting these responsibilities will be harmful to your pets’ health or the health of your yard.
Of course, different pets will come with different responsibilities. For some children, the prospect of picking up after a dog, taking them for walks, and giving them lots of attention may be doable and even enjoyable. But that amount of work may be too much for others, especially young children.
Some parents choose to get their children a pet to teach them about responsibility and to encourage their children to develop a good work ethic. This isn’t a bad idea in theory, but it really depends on your child’s personality. If your child doesn’t adapt to the amount of work that pets require, then it could lead to your new fur baby not getting the love and care that it needs.
Pets may be adorable, loving, and amazing additions to your family, but they can certainly be expensive as well. There are the initial costs to consider, such as adoption fees, food and water bowls, leashes, or other accessories. Those aren’t the only costs to keep in mind.
You’re going to want to have a clear understanding of your finances so you can determine whether you can afford all the things that come along with being a pet owner. Aside from the basics, you need to keep in mind regular vet visits, flea and tick preventatives, toys, and other accessories that your pet might need.
The biggest expense that comes along with being a pet owner is unexpected injuries or illnesses. Even with pet insurance, a serious medical problem could cost you thousands of dollars to resolve. You may even go to your vet only to be referred to specialists such as veterinary orthopedic surgeons, which will certainly cost you even more.
If you’re not financially prepared for these expenses, then it could lead to a delay in care for your pet or serious debt for you. It’s a good idea to set some money aside in your savings account before getting a pet so you can afford any unforeseen expenses.
Getting your children to pick up their own rooms can be enough of a hassle. Imagine if they were responsible for picking up after a rambunctious puppy as well! Pets are likely to cause messes, just like the rest of us, and they won’t be able to pick up after themselves.
If your schedule is already tight and your children don’t have the best track record with helping keep things clean, then you may want to consider giving them a low-maintenance pet like a goldfish to start.
Giving your child an easier pet like a goldfish will help them understand what it really means to take care of another life. This will help your child decide whether he or she really enjoys caring for pets and wants to take on a bigger responsibility, such as a dog or cat.
You may also want to consider the damage that could be done to your home. If you live in an apartment that allows pets, then they may require you to have renters’ insurance in order to have pets. The reason for this is that, intentional or not, pets can damage property sometimes.
Dogs are likely to tear into couches or trashcans if left alone for too long. Cats can scratch up the woodwork if they don’t have a proper scratching post to use. Even a caged animal, such as a chinchilla, can gnaw on the corners of walls or furniture if their cage gets too close.
If you and your children truly have your hearts set on getting a pet, then don’t let these reasons discourage you! Instead, use it as a blueprint for things that you need to be prepared for. Set up a chore list that directs who will be responsible for which aspects of pet care ahead of time. This will help everyone be prepared and ensure your pet gets the love and care it deserves.