If your children are getting older, you’ve probably been left a love note begging for a pet. Am I right? My husband and I have had plenty of those over the years! While they are adorable and endearing, they shouldn’t be the stamp of approval. So how do you know if your family is ready to get a dog, cat, bunny, or hamster? Let’s talk about some very important questions to ask and how to help kids when the answer is no.
Should our family get a pet?
Are all family members in agreement?
Before we bought our golden retriever puppy, we were not all in agreement. Sure, the kids were; but not us as parents. No was the answer for many, many years. Tears would well up in our children’s eyes as they gave us their best puppy dog eyes with batting eyelashes. We tried our best to explain to them the reasons why our family wasn’t ready and give them something to look forward to one day soon. It is good for children to have things to look forward to, and not always get whatever they want, when they want it. It is a great lesson of patience and hope. If all family members are not in agreement, one or more might end up resenting the new pet and it won’t be good for your family.
Is this the right season of life for a pet?
We all know that various stages and seasons of life bring new challenges. Perhaps you are raising young babies and toddlers. This might not be the best time to add another living creature into your midst. Pets require attention, love, devotion, time, and money!
Are we financially able to take care of one?
Pets, especially dogs in particular, end up costing a lot more than you may realize. When you add up the breeder fee or adoption fee, crates, toys, food, leashes, vaccines, and other various expenses, it can add up in a hurry! Make sure your family is prepared for that time of investment.
Do we have time to dedicate to this pet?
Are both parents working? There’s nothing worse than buying a pet and having your sweet little furry baby locked up in a crate all day. Make sure that you have the time as a family to work together in taking care of your new pet. Pets need lots of attention, love and training.
Animals are messy. Will this add unnecessary stress to our family dynamic?
Two words. Pet hair. Most animals go through a period of shedding and leave unfavorable hair all over your floors and furniture. I know many families where one or more parents are neat freaks and this would add a level of stress and uneasiness to the home. Talk over these things will all family members.
Are my children able and willing to help and follow safe pet rules?
Are your children able to help with chores such as feeding, taking the pet to go the bathroom, and so forth? Will they be able to follow safe pet rules such as no pulling, teasing, or jumping on your new pet.
Is there another pet that might be lower maintenance if we aren’t ready?
For many years our family wasn’t ready for a dog. As my husband and I discussed it, we agreed that our children would benefit from a lower maintenance pet. We talked over some different options and decided to adopt a kitten. We adopted one from a local shelter and it turned out to be a wonderful decision. My husband and I are not cat people, so it was a huge leap of faith. He bought us around two years until we were ready to buy a dog.
Is this the right time for a pet?
After you’ve thought about these very important questions and talked them over as a family, you will know if it’s the right time. If you have any questions or doubts, it’s always best to wait. There will always be a lovable creature to love.
Start preparing now!
Start talking about pets now with your little ones! Gobi For Little Ones might be a great way to begin.
Bring home the incredible true story of a friendship so strong that it crosses the globe! Families everywhere will be delighted by the tale of Gobi and Dion—a little lost dog and the ultramarathon runner who saved her. Gobi for Little Ones: The Race for Home is a fun, engaging board book perfect for families to enjoy together.
Does your family have a pet? What details determined when you were ready to add a animal to your family?