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Children and Pets – Safety Tips

Work of a therapy dog: Stella visited her fost...

Children learn wonderful life lessons from pets.  Most parents know this and most experts agree.  So your job is to pick those pets that are right for your children, your household and your life.

When picking a pet,  choose one he can help nurture, feed, and care for.  This helps develop good habits and attitudes in children.

The pet’s safety is also important so consider that too when choosing.

Young children shouldn’t be left alone with a pet because they could unintentionally hurt the animal. A child under five doesn’t have the ability to control his temper and should always be monitored while around the pet.

The best pets for children less than six are fish, gerbils, hamsters, budgies, and Guinea pigs. Rabbits don’t make good pets for smaller children because they are sometimes temperamental. Reptiles aren’t good for children under school age because these kids are more prone to contract salmonella.

The tasks your small child does to help take care of his pet should be appropriate to his age. When younger, he could help you clean the animals bowls or help clean the cage. When your child is older, the responsibility of brushing a cat or brushing and bathing, a dog is more appropriate. When older, he could apply the ear mite medicine to the pet’s ears.

Birds need more daily maintenance like cage cleaning and fresh water and food. They are easy to feed needing seeds and pellets and sometimes fruit.

Fish are also a good choice.  The majority of fish are cheap and easy to maintain and most of them are easy to feed and a simple aquarium will do. Parents will need to be sure that the water temperature, nitrogen level, and the pH balance are correct, when the fish belong to small children and older children can learn to check these things on their own.

Rodent pets such as mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils are basically inexpensive, simple to house, and are low maintenance. Be aware some rodents bite, chew on stuff, and some are escape artists. They are fun to watch and some like human attention.

Have fun choosing a pet, and enjoy it as your children learn the lessons pets help teach.


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