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Best Friends Pet Care: Whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between, having a pet provides many benefits!
The tips on this page will provide you with some benefits, general guidelines and resources for age-appropriate care for both your pet and you children.
So, sit, stay, stay, roll over and read!
Young children: Caring for a pet will:
Older child (think preteen or teen):
For senior citizens, there are great health benefits such as:
For those of us who are neither a young child, an older child, or senior citizen, having and caring for pets provides similar advantages. Who doesn’t love a good snuggle with a dog or cat or play time? More often than not, the benefits outweigh any potential negatives.
One word of general caution though, is to consider the age of the person, how long the animal will typically live, and the age of the animal being adopted.
Here are some suggested age-appropriate tasks for your best friends pet care:
Toddlers (Around Age 5):
· Help parents with placing the food/water into pet dishes.
· At this age, however, the parents should still put the food/water dishes down for the animal (especially dogs) as sometimes even a docile dog can become overexcited about food and cause an issue.
· Assist getting out and putting up pet toys
· Assist with minor clean ups or spills (with some minor assistance. This also depends on the mess and the child.
· Assisting with pet grooming such as brushing.
Children (Around Ages 5 to 10):
· Putting out food and water. Depending on the animal, some parental supervision might still be required (especially dogs) as they can become over excited.
· Cleaning of pet areas such as sweeping the pet kennel or cage, cleaning food/water bowls, shaking out beds or rugs, etc.
· Grooming such as brushing. Assistance with bathing might also be appropriate depending on the child and the size of the pet involved.
· Letting the pet outside and back in the home when the pet needs to eliminate.
· Help with walking or other exercise activities, once again depending on the child’s size and the size of the animal and its temperament.
· Cleaning up any spills or accidents making sure the child thoroughly washes his/her hands once the task is complete.
· Most children at this age are usually able to assume most aspects of pet care routine unless the animal is very large (think large dog, horse, etc.)
· Food, water, exercise, cleaning up after messes and spills should be done by the child who wanted the pet
· Beware that getting a preteen/teen to scoop up the feces in the yard will probably one of the hardest tasks to get them to complete. Nobody likes being the “pooper scooper,” but it’s a task that must be done. If you already have a contract in place with appropriate agreed upon consequences for negligence, a simple reminder of the consequences should help. What teen wants to give up hanging out with friends if his younger sibling scoops the poop for him/her?
Regardless of whether you bring home a dog, cat, goldfish, or chicken, etc. the Animal Care Guidelines on Animal Care Guides, Articles & Resources - Caring Pets is a great resource to read with regard to your best friends pet care.
I would suggest reading about the care guidelines on this website pertaining to the animal your child wants to adopt before the pet is purchased. If your teen wants to adopt a snake, do you really want to be purchasing live mice or feeding that snake? Something to consider!
Be sure to take these suggestions into consideration when deciding on which pet you want to adopt and care for. Your best friends pet care is of vital importance!
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