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Choosing Your Child’s First Pet

May 15 2021

Pets really do complete our families, and help turn our houses into homes. However, it’s important to introduce the right pet at the right time. One thing that can get tricky here is choosing when to get your child their first pet. A local Cherry Hill, NJ vet offers some tips on this below.


Benefits

Before making a decision, weigh both the pros and cons. Kids really can benefit from having pets. Animals provide comfort, friendship, and entertainment, and can teach children about empathy. However, you’ll also need to consider things like cost, space, and the time and work involved in caring for a pet. Remember, adoption is forever! 


Timing

There’s not really any set age for kids to get their first pets. Kids all mature differently, so it really depends on the child. There are a few things you want to look for. If your youngster is kind and empathic with animals, and does chores and homework without needing to be reminded several times, you may be in the clear. If your child tends to move from one favorite thing to another very quickly, it might be best to hold off.


Making The Choice

So, you’ve decided to move forward. The next question is what sort of animal do you want? It’s best to start with something that is small, gentle, and easy to care for. Pocket pets, like gerbils and hamsters, are popular choices. Certain reptiles are also suitable, though they may not be good choices for very little kids. There’s of course nothing wrong with getting a kitten or puppy. Just keep in mind that Fluffy and Fido more care than young children can provide alone, so the whole family would need to be on board.


Tips

No matter what type of pet you choose, you’ll want to monitor interactions between your youngster and their new buddy closely. If your child is still very little, have them sit or kneel to hold, pet, or play with their animal companion. This is also a good time to start teaching them about animals’ body language. Otherwise, they may find out that Fluffy’s tail isn’t a toy by getting scratched! Finally, just make sure that you are ready to take over the pet’s care if your youngster loses interest, which often happens.


As your local Cherry Hill, NJ veterinary clinic, we are here to help!

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