Health & Care > Pet care, safety and insurance > Finding the Right Pet for Your Child

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10/29/2010 15:59:00 PM by gradye   Send Message to gradye  10226  views, category: Pet training and behavior, Pet thoughts, Pet care, safety and insurance view all blogs
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It's important to find a great way to teach your child responsibility, but the wrong pet at the wrong time can turn your child off to ever owning an animal. Before you and your little one rushes off to the pet store, keep the following considerations in mind. If your child is younger than seven, he or she is less likely to fully appreciate or be able to handle the responsibility of owning a pet.


Children who are seven years old and younger will want to hold and cuddle the animal, which can be fatal for smaller pets. If your child loses control, throws temper tantrums, tries daredevil stunts, drops things easily or loses items, he or she may not be the best candidate for an animal. If your child is able to play quietly, sympathize with animals and can act calmly, he or she is more likely to have a good experience with a pet.


Immature children will take a pet out of its enclosure without parental supervision and may even harm the pet unintentionally. Unless you plan to be the primary person caring for the pet, try to find the appropriate small pet that your little one will enjoy.


Remember, small pets do not bond with your children in the same way a cat or dog would. Smaller pets are also more fragile, and they can be injured, or even killed, by accidental mishandling.


There are two pets that are good “starter pets” for your children – hermit crabs and sea monkeys. Hermit crabs are available at many pet and variety stores. They are easy to care for and rarely pinch people. When a hermit crab is sleeping or scared, it will pull into its shell. They are not indestructible, but are also not as tempting to pick up and cuddle. Hermit crabs need only a wet sponge, bigger shells to grow into and a warm environment.


Sea monkeys are probably the easiest pets for your child. These two-inch long shrimp are active and will play, eat and move around right in front of your child’s eyes. Sea monkeys do not need a full aquarium and only need to be fed every three to four days.


Choosing your child’s first pet is an important decision. Help your child learn responsibility, but not at the expense of a small animal.


Talk with your little one and explain the decision about which pet is best. Don’t forget to let the child know if he or she proves to be responsible with small pets, they may be able to move on to a cat or dog.

About the author: When I'm not cuddling with my kitten, I am a runner, chef-in-training and writer. I enjoy running half marathons and learning how make delicious meals. more >>

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