toddler's pet dogs

Are you thinking about getting your child a pet?

 

If yes, you are now probably wondering what kind of pet you and your family are ready to take care of.

 

If this is your first time to have a pet then ask yourself these questions:

 

How much knowledge and experience do you have about the animal?

 

Not all animals are alike, even the same species can  be of a different breed and personality as well. If this is your first time to ever own a pet, learn all about the pet you intend to buy or adopt.

 

In addition, consider animals and breeds that are hardy and easy to care for.

 

How much time do you have?

 

Some pets require lots of attention, petting and cuddling while others are relatively low maintenance.

 

Some animal breeds tend to be lonely without enough socialization and time outdoors. In short, if you are not an outdoorsy type, then choose pets that do not mind staying in the house more often.

 

What will your family do in caring for the pet?

 

Do you have a plan on how to take care of the pet? Designate certain roles to all family members like feeding, grooming and cleaning the animal’s cage or aquarium.

 

Do not try to do everything by yourself. Remember to let the children be involve in the caring of the pet to let them learn from the experience.

 

Do you have enough space in your house for the pet now and when it grows bigger?

 

Of course you need to consider your living space. Getting a big dog breed is not a good idea if you are living in a tiny apartment.

 

Do you have another pet at home?

 

Like children and siblings, pets may get jealous when a new pet arrives. If you have another pet, make sure it won’t clash with the new pet.

 

Are you often away? Who will take care of your pet if you are out?

 

Pets rely on us for food, water and other needs. If you go away for a day or a couple of days make sure you have somewhere you can leave it with or someone who can check on it every now and then.

 

Do you or anyone in your house have an allergy with animals?

 

This is very important. Everybody’s health is important so check first if anyone is allergic to fur or feathers or anything about the pet you are planning to get.

 

It would be devastating to have to return an animal after finding out that someone in the family gets sick around it,

 

What kinds of pet is safe for children?

 

Although reptiles like turtles, lizards, iguanas and amphibians like frogs, and salamanders may seem like the best thing for those allergic with fur and feathers they are not exactly as safe.

 

Other animals you should think twice about getting as pets are: rodents, ferrets, baby poultry, monkeys and other exotic animals.

 

On the other hand, these are the animals that are usually chosen as pets:  

 

Dogs are classic pets for families. They are loyal, protective, cuddly and just adorable.

 

However, there are several things you have to consider in getting a pet dog for the first time. Some experts do not recommend big dog breeds like Doberman, Pinschers, Dalmatians and Great Danes if you have babies and very small children as these big dogs can weigh up to 50pounds.

 

On the other hand, dogs that are too small may not be best for very young kids either.

 

Dogs bred to be aggressive like Pitt bulls and Rottweilers may not be the best choice either.

 

Australian shepherd puppies
Image Credit: Pictures of Animals Planet

Some doctors would also recommend dogs that do not have too much hair if someone in the family is allergic.

 

Veterinarian Dr. Chris Brown of Bondi recommends: King Carles Spaniel, Cavoodle, Labrador, Schnauzer, and pugs. Australian sheep dogs may also be a great choice.

 

As soon as you find the perfect dog, have it checked by a vet regularly and make sure it is vaccinated against rabies.

 

Cats are another favorite and they are especially great for families living in apartments and condos.

 

American shorthair kittens
Image Credit: Kittycat

There are several cat breeds and mix breeds around but experts would often suggest Abyssinian, American short hair, Burmese and Birman as the best breeds for children.

 

Also, cats like most other animals have their own personalities as well. Be sure to check if the cat you are interested in is not territorial and is tolerant of noises and sudden movements – children are usually loud and active.

 

Also choose one that is friendly, easy-going, and enjoys being hugged and handled all the time by little hands. This will lessen, if not totally avoid, nipping and clawing reactions.

 

Image Credit: Matt Elsberry

Fish is one of the popular animal options for pets. Although they cannot be cuddled like their warm bodied friends they are great to watch.

 

Experts believe that watching fish swim around its aquarium can be therapeutic.

 

A goldfish is usually a go to for first time pet owners. They are easy to care for and children seem to just love them.

 

You can also try the Siamese fighting fish or Beta fish. This tropical specie can thrive in isolation and can live in aquariums without aerators, filters, heaters or chemicals.

 

Birds are more demanding pets than fish as they are highly intelligent and social creatures that require a lot of attention.

 

parrots and guinea pigs

 

Guinea pigs and hamsters are other popular animals for pets. Aside from being cute and cuddly, they are relatively easy to care for.

 

However, when buying guinea pigs, it might be a good idea to buy young same sex pairs. On the other hand, hamsters are solitary creatures so you do not need to buy two at once.

 

Choosing these animals do not mean they are 100 percent safe to be around children. Remember that these pets are still animals, they also have feelings and temperaments.

 

It is therefore imperative that we are around when our children interacts with their pets.

 

In addition, teach your child to care for the pets and how to be gentle when handling them.

 

A pet can be a wonderful source of entertainment and can become a good and loyal friend for the family especially for your child.

 

Special thanks to Visa Kopu for the main image.

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