The Benefits of a Pet for Your Kids
Well chosen pets offer your kids a variety of benefits. Let’s discuss these benefits. By having a pet to care for, your kids will learn:
*about giving love to someone in need (i.e., pets need their humans to provide them food, water, exercise, shelter, and love)
*about responsibility (i.e., the kids may want to sleep in, but the dog needs to be walked at 7:30 a.m. every day because he needs to potty)
*about understanding and empathy (i.e., the kids may want to pet the kitty, but the kitty is taking a bath right now, so the kids need to be understanding of the kitty’s desire to be clean first and cuddled second)
*about the importance of exercise (this is particularly true if the pet is a dog) Additionally, your kids will experience:
*additional opportunities to develop fine motor skills through learning to pet gently, cuddle softly, throw balls accurately, etc.
*a lowered risk of developing allergies and asthma
*additional opportunities for weight control through exercise (such as dog walking)
*additional social opportunities (i.e., the pet as friend, and the pet as a draw to other humans who love pets and can become a friend to your kids)
But what constitutes a “well chosen” pet? You must consider the needs and behaviors of your family members and your prospective pets.
*Large dogs may not be aware of their strength and weight relative to infants and toddlers. A large dog, happily greeting his family, may hurt an infant or toddler by accidentally striking the infant or toddler across the face with his tail. (Note: some large dogs are very aware of their relative size and strength and are very good with small children.)
*Active families fit well with active pets. Sedentary families fit well with sedentary pets.
*Some pets are “high strung” and not likely to be patient with little hands lacking fine motor skills. *Families that are absent from the home for long hours daily may be better suited with a kitty or a rabbit than a dog. This is because kitties and rabbits have restroom facilities in the home, whereas dogs need to be taken outside to their restroom facilities.
*Pets with long hair require daily brushing. Pets with short hair typically require weekly or less frequent brushing. Therefore, long-haired pets required families willing to make a greater commitment to grooming.
*Purebred pets tend to have more health challenges than do mixed breed pets. If your budget does not support buying purebreds, with not only the initial purchase in mind but also the potential for additional veterinary bills, then perhaps you should consider adopting a mixed breed pet.
*Cleanliness needs to be considered as well. If your family is fastidious, you will need to decide how you will handle pet hair on your furniture (which is more of a problem with long-haired pets than short-haired pets), urine on the carpet (which is more of a problem when housebreaking puppies), oily spots on your furniture or carpets (dogs, cats, and rabbits may leave oily spots on some textiles on surfaces they sit on with frequency), etc.
These and other considerations must be evaluated before choosing the pet that is right for your family. Once you have your well chosen pet, your kids can begin reaping the benefits.
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