Consider a pet rat anyone? image by hedgiecc

Choosing the right pet for your child can be difficult, especially if the child has unrealistic expectations. It's just not practical to keep a large dog in an apartment, for instance, or to look after a pet properly if you are going away for holidays regularly. My daughter is desperate for a dog, but being in Singapore for an unknown time frame, we didn't think it fair to her or the dog. But pets can teach children so much that it can be an important consideration.

Here are a few tips when considering choosing a pet for your child:

* Don’t limit yourself to just the standard puppy. There are lots of pets out there to choose from.

* Fish aren’t as easy to care for as one might think, and beta fish in particular can actually be very difficult to look after.

* Allergies should be considered.

* Many small-cage animals such as hamsters, hermit crabs, mice, etc are prone to be awake and making noises at night. They won’t provide much entertainment and the children may get bored with them after a short time.

* Anything reptilian, while very interesting looking and a large lesson in care, is going to be very expensive to house and sometimes to feed.

Many pets in addition to cats, ferrets, chinchillas, rabbits, small dogs, are litter trainable so there are lots of options.

* Before adopting your new pet pick up a book about their care to read with your child.

* Have your children choose which pet care tasks they will be doing 100% on their own and which they will need help with. Add them to your daily chore list if you have one.

* Ask your children if they have any questions about the new pet, pet care, etc.

* To help them feel more involved let them choose things like pet toys, collars, leashes, and food bowls. These little things make them feel more responsible for the new pet before they have it.


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