Is your child begging for a pet? These can be tricky waters to navigate. Our animal companions can be very beneficial to children. They can teach youngsters about friendship, empathy, and loyalty. Plus, they make great playmates and cuddle buddies! However, there are some things to consider. A Coles County, IL vet offers some insight on this topic below.

Is The Time Right?

There’s no set age at which it’s appropriate for children to get their first pet. Kids all mature differently. That said, we don’t recommend getting pets for children younger than four. Or, if you do, choose something that requires minimal care, like a goldfish. Consider how responsible your child is. Do you need to remind them several times to do chores and homework? If so, they may not be ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet quite yet. Of course, you’ll also need to factor in your household and budget.

Choosing The Pet

If all lights are green, it’s time to pick a pet! Gerbils, hamsters, mice, and Guinea pigs are all popular starter pets. These little guys are all a bit different, but they do have a lot in common. They don’t take up much space, are inexpensive, easy to care for, and are usually quite docile. (They’re also adorable, but that’s beside the point.) Do some research before deciding. For instance, hamsters are nocturnal, so if you put Hammie’s cage in your child’s bedroom, he may keep your child up at night. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, often get depressed without buddies, so you’d need to get more than one.

Supervision

We recommend supervising all interactions between your child and their furry friend. You may want to have your little one sit down to handle or play with their pet. That way, if your pint-sized pal jumps or falls, they won’t drop very far.

Tips

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for kids to beg for pets, only to lose interest in them. Before proceeding, make sure that you’re ready, willing, and able to take over pet care duties if this happens. It’s may even be best if you plan to care for the pet yourself. Your little one can still help out with tasks like feeding and cleaning the cage.

Please feel free to contact us, your Coles County, IL vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!