Caring for pets takes a lot of time and energy, but as any loving pet owner will tell you, the rewards make all the effort worthwhile. Teaching the littlest members of your family the basics of pet care can help them form lasting bonds with your pet and help them learn valuable lessons about responsibility too. These five tips from Honest Discounts may assist you when introducing a pet into a family with young children.
- Provide Education
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, hamster or even a snake, education helps your little ones get excited about learning how to care for your pet. Read story books about pets and use stuffed animals to teach them how to handle pets safely. In addition to talking about your pet’s basic requirements, including food, water and exercise, explain that pets can need help with grooming, training and going potty too.
- Teach Safety Rules
Nothing is more important than ensuring that young children learn how to interact safely with your pet. Even the most easygoing dog or cat can bite or scratch a child if provoked. Teach little ones how to approach your pet gently without startling him. Talk about cues that animals give when they don’t want to play, such as hissing, barking or growling. Let your child know it’s never a good idea to take a toy away from a dog or cat or to touch pets while their eating.
- Supervise Pet Care Tasks
Pet ownership comes with responsibilities that every member of the family can share, but the ASPCA stresses the importance of adult supervision when it comes to children under the age of 10 caring for pets. Under your watchful eye, preschoolers can learn how to fill water and food dishes while elementary school-age children can tackle chores like changing bedding and cleaning cages.
- Encourage Active Play
Like people, pets need daily exercise. Young children can help ensure your pet stays active and healthy when they learn how to play with a cat or dog safely. A cat dancer toy, for example, allows kids to play with a cat without using their hands. Games of fetch offer hours of active play for dogs. Just be sure the pup knows how to respond to the “drop it” command so the child won’t be tempted to reach for the dog’s mouth.
- Be a Great Role Model
When it comes to teaching young children about caring for pets, the way you interact with your pet will make a lasting impression. Little ones learn by your example, and that provides you with daily opportunities to show them how to behave around pets. Include the kids when walking the dog, grooming the cat or taking a pet on a routine visit to the vet. Let them know just how much you care for pet by showing them your pet prescriptions card from Honest Discounts. Be patient and persistent, and your little ones will come to understand that your pet is a beloved member of your family and deserves to be treated with affection and proper care.