How to choose the best pet for your child: Tips for Singapore parents
Find out how to choose the best pet for your child by reading these useful tips.
If your child has been asking you to get her a pet but you have no clue as to how to get started looking for one, you’ve come to the right place. We share some useful tips on how you can choose the best pet for your child.
Before that though, let’s answer the question: How old should my child be when I get him/her a pet?
What is the right age for a pet?
The best answer for this is: It depends.
Some children are born into families where pets are already a part of the family.
Growing up with a pet in the house makes it easier and more natural to introduce another pet at an earlier age.The fact that the new pet will have a seasoned ‘veteran’ pet to be with also helps make things easier.
Now, if yours is originally a home without pets, you may want to resist the urge to add a dog or cat to your family until your oldest child is between the ages of 5 and 7. This is because a 5 to 7 year old is capable of feeding and walking the dog.
More importantly, a child this age can understand the difference between playing with a pet and mistreating it. They will also understand the importance of keeping dangerous objects out of their reach and not invading the animal’s personal space when eating, etc.
Kids aged 5 to 7 will still need to be taught how to care for their pets, and you will still have to closely supervise them. Still, this is an excellent age for to teach children to start taking responsibility.
How to choose the best pet for your child: Questions to answer
In choosing the best pet for your child, take these into consideration:
- Where do you live? If you live in an apartment, a puppy needing exercise and room to run around may not be the wisest choice.
- How much time would the pet spend alone each day? Some pets do better than others when they’re left alone for long periods of time.
- Does your child have allergies? Asthma? If yes, an animal that may indirectly cause allergic reactions may not be the best pet for your child.
- Do you like to travel? Does your family usually go for weekend outings and regular extended vacations? Who will care for your child’s pet in your absence?
- Is there room in the budget for pet food? Pet care? Shots?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move on to consider different options and eventually come up with your choice for the best pet for your child.
How to choose the best pet for your child: Options to consider
Here are some possible options when considering what the best pet for your child is:
- Fish — you don’t have to just settle for a simple goldfish or guppy. Consider getting an aquarium with exotic fish, snails, plants and décor, if you think your child can handle it.
- Guinea pigs are much more personable than hamsters or gerbils, but should still be reserved for older children (ages 10 and up).
- Rabbits are cute, but they can become mean. Their teeth and claws are extremely sharp, so if you are to get one, remind your child about all the safety measures associated with having a rabbit.
- Kittens are adorable and a great source of entertainment with their antics. They are also easily housebroken and independent enough to not mind being left alone during the day. They are allergy culprits, though, and shed quite liberally.
- Puppies are fun and there is a reason dogs are known as ‘man’s best friend.’ But a dog needs to be loved, exercised, played with and looked after. If the dog is kept inside, they will need to be toilet trained.
The decision is yours
Bringing a pet into your home is a huge decision so make it carefully and wisely. It can even be a life-changing, family dynamic-changing one.
On a last note, when choosing the best pet for your child, do check out the SPCA’s site on responsible pet ownership and discuss this with your child(ren) before making a decision.
Does your child have a pet? If yes, how did you go about choosing the best pet for your child? Leave a comment and let us know!