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How To Know if Your Child Is Ready for a Pet

How To Know if Your Child Is Ready for a Pet

Buying your child their first pet can be a lot of fun. Watching your child bond with an animal will most certainly come with laughs, memories, and great play time. If you’re considering buying your child a pet, there are a few things to think about to know that the timing is right. From age and interest to your expectations for your child’s responsibilities for feeding and more, it’s important to have a clear idea of the right time for this perfect gift. If you aren’t sure how to know if your child is ready to be a pet owner, read on.


a young baby with a dog in a trolley

One of the first things to consider when considering the right time to buy your child a pet is their age. Obviously, your young child won’t be able to buy pet insurance to ensure their animal’s health, shop for discounts on pet food, or have any ability to help with vet bills. If finances aren’t an issue for you, and you fully plan on paying for your child’s pet insurance policy, helping their pet through illness, paying for pet food and regular vet visits, and more, age won’t likely be as much of a problem.

Age will, however, play a big role on your child’s ability to be a pet parent when it comes to responsibilities. Ask yourself whether it matters to you if your child helps feed and care for their pet on a daily basis. If you expect your child to walk the dog daily, for example, you’ll want to wait until your child is older than a toddler. If you’re just looking for a pet as a great way to teach your child about animals and love and intend to do those animal chores yourself, this won’t be an issue either. The key is to establish clear expectations that your child understands before making them a pet owner.

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Experience with Animals

a young girl standing by a stool with dog on it

If your child is older, and you intend for them to help out in the care of their pet, you’ll want to think about how much experience your child has with animals. Pets can make the best gifts for older kids who have expressed an interest and been around other animals before. If you’ve noticed your child gravitates to other family members’ dogs or is constantly begging to go to the ASPCA to look at the rescue pups, it’s likely your child would love a new dog. A cat, goldfish, puppy, gerbil, or rabbit, any pet can make a great gift for kids who love animals and have demonstrated their ability to treat animals with kindness.

Small Dogs That Don’t Shed Are Ideal as Pets


a street kid is holding a puppy outdoor

While one child might be ready to be a pet parent, the new pet will be part of your entire family. For this reason, it’s important to think about siblings. In some cases, the youngest sibling isn’t ready for a new pet when the older child is. This is something to think about before bringing an animal into your home. You may need to wait until all your kids are ready or establish boundaries about how the pet will be incorporated into your family. Depending on what type of pet it is, this might be as simple as placing the fish tank in your older child’s room.

Interest Level

a baby with a dog outdoor

The last thing to consider is your child’s interest level. You know your child best. It’s natural for kids of all ages to change their mind every day. At the same time, it’s not a good idea to buy a kitten on a whim. Be sure your child is serious about wanting a pet and that they’ve expressed a serious interest in it. Even then, you might find that they lose interest. Being ready for that change of events will give you peace of mind.

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Final Words

At the end of the day, buying your child a pet is a big but fun decision. Planning ahead, knowing your kid, and doing what you can to support their interests will all go a long way in giving your new pet a fantastic life. The only thing left to do will be finding the perfect fit for your family. When ready, consider adopting a rescue animal waiting now to be your child’s next best friend.

Read more on our pet category.

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