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Choosing Your Child’s First Pet

Has your little one been pleading for a furry friend? Pets can be absolutely wonderful for children. Our animal friends can offer kids unconditional love, and are a great source of comfort on bad days. Plus, they make great playmates! However, adopting an animal is a big responsibility, so there are quite a few things to consider before making a final decision. Read on as a Aurora, CO vet discusses choosing your child’s first pet.

Age

There is no set age at which it’s appropriate for a child to get their first pet. That said, we don’t generally recommend pets for kids younger than age five. It’s much too easy for a youngster to accidentally drop or injure an animal. You also don’t want your young one finding out the hard way that Fluffy’s tail is not a toy!

Maturity

Children all mature at different levels. Does your child do homework and chores without having to be reminded? Does he or she take good care of her belongings? If not, you may want to wait a bit longer.

Time Constraints

Many kids stay very busy with extracurricular activities. Make sure that your little one has time to spend a pet.

Commitment

It’s all too common for kids to beg for pets, and then lose interest. Make sure you are ready, willing, and able to take over the animal’s care if that happens. Changing owners is very hard on our furry friends, so be sure you can provide a forever home for any pet you adopt.

Finance

Even if your child will be caring for the pet, the financial responsibility for it will likely be yours. Choose a pet that works with your budget.

Choosing the Right Pet

We recommend starting small, with something that needs minimal care, like a goldfish. If that goes well, consider getting a pocket pet, such as a gerbil, hamsters, or Guinea pig. These are all very popular first pets for kids, as they are small, cute, and fairly inexpensive, and aren’t difficult to care for. Cats, dogs, bunnies, and birds all make wonderful pets, but they do require a good deal of care, and may be too much for a child to care for alone. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Please contact us, your Aurora, CO animal clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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