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Can Young Kids And Pets Get Along?

Photo by cottonbro

It’s possible to raise young kids and have pets. However, you need to be careful of how the two interact. Below are a few tips for those with young kids who may be thinking of getting pets. 

Never leave young kids with pets unaccompanied

Young kids under the age of 5 and animals should never be left alone together. This includes other people’s pets and your own pets. 

There is always a risk that an animal may injure a child. Many dog attack lawsuits involve children and can cause serious injuries and even death in some cases. Cats and rodents are less likely to cause serious harm but can still scratch or bite – especially if provoked.

A young child could also injure your pet if left alone. Young kids can be clumsy and do not always know their own strength which can lead to animals getting dropped, squeezed too tightly or stepped on. By monitoring kids and pets together you can make sure that your pets aren’t hurt either. 

Know the right age to get them their own pet

You can adopt a family pet at any time, providing that you are willing to be responsible for that pet. However, most kids will not be responsible to look after their own pet until at least the age of 6.

You can encourage kids to learn responsibility by getting a family pet when your child is young and slowly introducing them to more responsibility. From the age of 3, some kids may be able to help with tasks like putting food in a bowl. Teaching kids how to pet and handle animals is also important.

Some tasks should not be left solely to kids until they are much older such as walking a dog. However, with some pets like guinea pigs, kids may be able to be given full responsibility by the age of 7 or 8. 

Choose the right type of animal

Some pets are more ideal for young kids than others. Rats, guinea pigs and gerbils are typically great first pets for kids between the ages of 5 and 10. Rabbits are typically not recommended for kids under 8 as they require more care, while hamsters are similarly not suited to kids younger than 8 because of their tendency to nip.

When choosing cats and dogs, it’s best to stick to breeds that have a fairly docile but playful temperament. A few popular dog breeds that get on well with young kids include labradors, poodles, Newfoundlands, and beagles. Kids should not be left to look solely after their own cat or dog until they are at least a teenager.

Be prepared to take over responsibility if necessary

If a child does get bored of a pet, you need to be prepared to take over. This is why it’s not wise to buy pets that you do not want, but your child does. For example, if you’re terrified of geckos, but your child wants one as a pet, you may want to put your foot down until they are at least a teenager – you don’t want to have to take over responsibility for a pet you can’t deal with.

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