If you're about to add a new furry member to your family, here are some helpful tips to make sure it's a smooth transition.
12 March 2017| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Bringing in a pet into your home to join the family is big decision. Having a pet can be a wonderful experience and it has many benefits for children. It's very common for parents to have their little ones begging for their first pet. Before caving in, you might want to consider a few things.
1. Adopt animals from local shelters or choose reputable breeders.
Go online, ask at the local library or read reviews to find organizations that support your family values and properly care for animals. This will ensure a pet has been properly cared for, has the right beginning immunizations and has been screened for certain behaviour disorders or triggers.
2. Don’t leave small children unattended with animals.
Whether you picked a dog or a hamster, in the beginning it is important to supervise them.
SEE ALSO: Tips on how not to lose your pet
3. Teach children the proper way to handle their pet.
Show how to greet, hold, use quiet voices and avoid playing with an animal that is eating or sleeping. Stroke a child’s arm gently to demonstrate how it’s a good feeling and tell them how poking, squeezing or pulling can hurt an animal.
4. Animal proof the house.
Common houseplants and electrical cords can pose hazards to pets. Consider removing potential dangers and picking up toys or shoes that might be mistaken for chew toys.
5. Model an appropriate relationship with animals.
Lead by example and treat the new pet with compassion and maturity. Avoid yelling or physically punishing the pet.
6. Establish rules and basic obedience training.
Pets need to be taught to obey and respect the house rules. Be consistent and patient.
SEE ALSO: 5 benefits pets provide to children
7. Consider an older pet.
Kittens and puppies are cute, but they require a lot of care. Many older animals have already been trained and have calmed with age. They might be the perfect fit for your family!
8. Socialize your new pet.
It is important you expose the new family member to people of all ages, different animals, experiences and travel methods. Positive experiences can prevent future behaviour issues later.
About the Author
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.