How to Pick the Right Pet for You
As many parents know, caring for an animal is a rewarding experience. But, even better and more enriching is adopting a pet that a child can love and learn to help take care of. It teaches responsibility, empathy, and a sense of understanding that another being is relying on them to stay healthy and happy.
However, choosing a family dog is not like choosing a bird or a bearded dragon—each has different needs and requires very different types of care. So before bringing a furry or feathered friend home to your family, consider these few things:
- The lifespan of the animal. Consider your child’s emotional attachment but also their age. You’ll want to bring a pet home that they can love for the long term, but keep in mind that you’ll assume the responsibility of providing for this pet once they head off to college.
- Living space. Living space, yard space, aquarium, terrarium—determine what type of environment your pet will require at first and in future as it grows. Now assess if you have adequate room.
- Care requirements. Speak with your veterinarian about the care requirements for each animal you’re considering. Can every family member share responsibility? Additionally, all pets require regular veterinary care. Is this something you are financially prepared for?
- Desired interaction. Try to pick a pet based on the type of interaction your child wants. Something they can hold and cuddle with, play with, or simply sit and admire? Some pets tolerate hands-on interaction, and some do not.
- Allergies & Disease. Some animals create dander (shed skin cells, feathers, hair, etc.), evoking allergic symptoms. Bringing a pet home may not be the best choice if your child has eczema, hay fever, asthma, or the like. Some pets like reptiles can also carry and transmit diseases like salmonella, which can cause severe diarrhea. Handling this type of pet would require your child to practice proper hygiene like washing after playing and before meals. Discuss further with your pediatrician or local vet.
- Care time. Most pets require daily attention. They must be groomed, fed, exercised, and cleaned up after, while others require minimal care. Decide how much time your family has to care for a new addition and pick a pet from there.
What Are Good Pets For Kids?
Things like temperament, awareness, and empathy vary with age. A pet that’s perfect for a 15-year-old might not fare well with a 4-year-old. One may have a greater sense of responsibility while the other is still learning to take care of themselves.
When determining how to pick the right pet for your children, generally, the younger the child, the more hands-off the pet should be. As they become older and more aware of their size and strength, in addition to the size and strength of these pets, the more hands-on they can be.
According to PetMD, these are some of the best pets for children according to their age.
- Crested Geckos
- Canaries & Finches
- Guinea Pigs
- Bearded Dragons
- Corn Snakes
- Greek Tortoises
Ultimately, any of the pets listed will make great additions to your home. All it takes is getting the gang together and deciding whether the timing is right! Then, when you’re ready to pick a pet, contact us at any one of our 21 AZPetVet locations so we can help determine the one that’s right for you!