Pets are cool. Kids love them. They make good companions, are great entertainment and teach responsibility, so the prevailing wisdom seems to be.
Most kids do love pets, but that’s as far as generalizations can go when you are contemplating adding a pet to your family. Some pets do make good companions; some pets provide great entertainment; some can even teach responsibility, but nothing is guaranteed.
There are some questions you should ask of your family before deciding to even look for a pet, then there are other questions you should ask after finding a potential pet.
Before even looking for a pet, ask who is going to feed it. Then ask who is going to bathe it, clean the cage, empty the litter box or brush it. Ask where the pet is going to sleep. Ask yourself if you have room for the kind of pet your family prefers. Some may want a dog but if you live in an apartment with no yard, you will be limited to small dogs that don’t need much room. Will your family be happy with that?
Ask yourself and your family if a pet will fit into your lifestyle in 10 years. Remember, your kindergartener will be a teenager by that time and your teenager will probably be permanently l gone from home. A rabbit might not be so appealing by then, but some of them live that long and longer if they are indoor pets.
Another thing to think about is who is going to take care of the pet when you go on vacation or have one of those days when everyone is busy until late? Some pets, like birds or some reptiles, can be left alone with plenty of food and water for a day or two, but other pets, like dogs or cats, need daily interaction as well as food and water.
When you find a pet that all of the family likes, you should ask about allergies or potential allergies. Cats are notorious for causing allergies, but dogs do, too. Even reptiles have been known to cause allergic reactions to some sensitive children. Be sure the pet you choose is safe for your kids.
Are your children old enough to be safe around rodents or reptiles that might bite if they’re mishandled or will they know enough to be gentle with chicks or baby rabbits?
These things may be more to consider than you first thought, but each one needs to be answered satisfactorily before committing your family to take in a pet.