Picking the Right Pet for Your Child 

Your child or your children are pushing for a pet.  How do you go about choosing the right pet?  Here are some suggestions:

There are a lot of first questions.

  1. How old is your child?  Children?
  2. What does your child want?
  3. How big is your house or apartment?  Are there any housing restrictions?
  4. Can you take this pet outside?
  5. What are you and your partner’s schedules?
  6. Is anybody in your family allergic?—not just your child, but you, your partner, and relatives who visit often?
  7. What kinds of animals are in the neighborhood?  What kinds of dangers lurk for the animal, such as dangerous streets?
  8. How much can you afford in terms of health care for your pet?

A baby or toddler is likely to be rough with a young kitten or puppy.  Kittens may be cute, but they’re more likely to scratch and bite, as are most adult cats if they are handled improperly.  Puppies might scratch or bite, too.  Both are like young children: They need to learn to be social.  So you might want an animal that’s a little older and used to people.

You should also know that unless you live on a farm or someplace similar, you or your partner will wind up doing most, if not all, of the pet care.  Can your schedule and living arrangements handle that?  Is the animal, especially a dog, too big for your home?

You should talk to your vet about what kinds of behaviors you can expect from your animal and what health problems it might contract. You might want a slightly older pet.  You may also want to buy a health insurance policy if it’s affordable.

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