The primary pet-ready characteristics to look for in your child are:

If you’re looking for a child’s first pet, consider that small animals:
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Whether you are bringing a new born baby home from the hospital, buying a new puppy for your child, bringing home a new pet to cohabitate with a current pet, or simply need help selecting a new puppy or dog, a pet adaptation lesson can make your life transition easier with professional guidance. These private, in-home sessions are designed to show all family members the best way to integrate a new life into your household as smoothly as possible!
No. Because animals aren’t people. And pets aren’t children.
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If you do decide to find another home for your pet, be sure to discuss this with your child. Assure your child it's not his or her "fault" — and make sure siblings don't blame the child. Losing a pet, even to a friend's home, can be hard for everyone in the family. How to Involve Children in Pet Care
Photo provided by FlickrYou should not get a pet bird for your child, if:
Photo provided by FlickrHow can we possibly justify spending billions on pets as though they are children?
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by Katie Nurmi © This workbook let's children work through the loss of a pet by teaching the child that their feelings are impotant and respected. They will also learn that respect for all living creatures is an important aspect of growing up.

An Acrobat Reader is needed to view and print this book. Your browser probably already is set-up to accomadate this PDF file but if not you can download it by If you already have a family pet, your child is already familiar with all the pet-related routines such as feeding it, walking it, and even cleaning up after it. The next step is to explain to the child that one of those jobs is now going to be their responsibility. Make sure you pick something that your child can actually do without any harm to himself or the pet, and without difficulty. For example: Making a young child clean the cat’s litter box is pretty dangerous. Younger children put their fingers inside their mouths or in their eyes a lot, so this would be a better job for an older child. A good example of a risk-free responsibilities would be giving fresh water to your family’s pet every day.Pets are the perfect way to teach your children about responsibilities. All children love to have a pet of their own, but to make them actually take care of that pet, feed it and cleanup after can be difficult. Often, the pet is not age-appropriate, which makes the task of caring for it more difficult than it should be. The first important step is to choose a pet that is suitable for your child’s age. A young child, such as a 4-year old surely won’t be able to take care of a large dog, but would do better with a guinea pig or a kitten. A child under the age of four is still learning the basics himself, so trying to teach him how to also take care of a pet might be too much to learn for someone so young. Having pets is a great way to make children not only more responsible, but also empathetic to the needs of others. By nature, children are focused mostly, if not exclusively, on their own needs, so having to take the time to care for a pet will have a great influence on their personality, as well as teach them to focus on others' needs too. You can ask, for example, for your child to pay attention to the pet’s mood and let you know if the pet seems sad or sick, so the two of you can take it to the vet. This exercise may seem simple, but it teaches your child a very important lesson – to be sympathetic with other people’s needs and feelings.One thing to keep in mind when trying to teach your child responsibility by caring for the family pet is to make sure you don't overwhelm the child all at once. Giving too many responsibilities can have the negative affect of causing the child to resent the pet. Remembers to let the amount of pet-related responsibilities grow with the child. Little by little, you can let your child feed the pet and walk it. With more responsibility, your child will also feel more valuable and his self-esteem will grow.For older children who want their own pet, it’s extremely important to discuss his or her responsibilities before actually getting the pet. Explain to your child that a pet is not a toy, and it has to be fed and cleaned up after on daily basis, just as you would not skip caring for them on days you were tired or too busy. More importantly, make sure your child understands that a pet needs attention and cannot be ignored just because he or she is tired or in a bad mood.