Like many parents, you might be resisting the temptation to buy your kids a puppy even though they constantly beg for one. Kids always promise, “we'll take care of it!” With younger kids, we know that they might care for a dog during the first few weeks, but then they won't help with the feeding, cleaning, and other chores. If your kids are dying to have a dog, you can teach them the responsibility that comes with having a pet by buying a smaller, more low maintenance pet first. Read on to learn about a few pets that are good precursors to buying a dog if you want to teach your kids responsibility first.
If your kids are really little, you may want to start small. A goldfish is probably the most low-maintenance pet you can have—all you have to do is feed it and change the water. These jobs are so easy, you can have even your toddler help you do them. You can give them the responsibility of feeding the fish when they wake up in the morning and before they go to sleep at night. Then, when it comes time to clean the bowl, involve your child in the process and teach them the importance of taking care of the pet to keep it clean, healthy and happy.
If your kids are between the ages of 5 and 10, a turtle is another good pet that is easy to care for, but still requires attention. Water and land turtles are becoming so popular as pets that many chain pet stores (and some local specialty pet stores) are beginning to sell them. Many species of turtles are very sociable but also quite independent, which makes them perfect for families with busy schedules and erratic free time to play with pets.
Iguanas are just one of a number of reptiles that are becoming popular pets (the list also includes snakes, bearded dragons, and turtles). Iguanas are best for older kids who can learn how to respect their space. Iguanas can be an easy pet for kids because they stay in a cage and need to be fed. Iguanas need to be kept in a humid environment, but you can usually buy a heated lamp to place in the cage so they stay at the correct temperature. This is a fun pet for little boys who are fascinated with snakes, dragons, and anything that creeps or crawls.
For kids who want a pet they can interact with a little bit more than just a fish in a bowl, ferrets can make great pets. They are soft and cuddly, extremely sociable, and very active when awake (but they sleep a lot too!) Ferrets work well for families with limited space, and give kids a little more responsibility since they will need to take the ferret out to play every now and again. Granted, this is a better pet for older kids, but it is much less responsibility than having a dog.
Children usually don't realize what a big responsibility having a pet is. Whether you are the one who wants a dog, or your kids won't stop asking for one, you can help teach the whole family responsibility by taking care of a pet on a smaller scale first. Consider your smaller pet a trial run for having a dog. Once your kids have proven that they can take care of a pet on a smaller scale, they will be more prepared for having a dog around the house. Information for this article was provided by the animal professionals of Evergreen Veterinary Clinic in San Jose, CA.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women's interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband, three daughters, and a spunky Jack Russel Terrier who makes life interesting! You can follow her on Twitter: @DixieSomers