Keeping your kids and pets happy doesn't have to cost a fortune or make you miserable. Some simple steps can be followed to create a fun and safe environment for your children and your pets. Of course, animals all have different personalities, so choosing the right pet for your family is the first step in achieving this happiness.
Finding the right pet for your kids might seem simple. Take the children to the pet store and let them decide which animal suits them best. This sounds like a great idea, but in reality it's a recipe for trouble. That cute little puppy will probably grow into a large dog that requires care each and every day. Those tiny kittens can ruin your furniture and create havoc with your fish tank. Keeping your kids and your pets happy means choosing wisely when purchasing a pet. One of the most important things to keep in mind while selecting a pet is whether or not the animal is age-appropriate for your children.
Finding a Good Fit
Older children will be able to care for pets much more easily than young children. Buying a relatively low-maintenance pet for your toddler is a great idea. A fish tank filled with bright and easy-to-care-for tropical fish is wonderful for teaching a child to take care of an animal as feeding fish is much less complicated than cleaning a litter box or grooming a dog. The fish tank requires minimal upkeep once it is established and with careful monitoring, even a child can help with routine maintenance.
A soft kitten is spectacular for quiet children. Cats are wonderfully easy to care for, especially for older children, and they are fun to play with as well. Kittens and cats are inexpensive to purchase, and there are so many fascinating toys for cats that the children will not be bored. Likewise, cats are great company for an "only" child and can relieve some of the loneliness that might be associated with being in a single child household.
Keeping your kids and pets happy can include buying some toys for the cat and letting the children play with both the toys and the animal. An adult should monitor this play to make sure that it remains safe for both parties.
Committing to a Dog
A dog requires a bit more upkeep than a cat. Children and dogs are a perfect mix, as long as you make sure to get the right breed of dog. Many dogs are active and good-tempered, so the choices are plentiful. A small dog might not intimidate young children as much as a larger one would, but be careful to choose a breed with the right temperament for children. Beagles, Wheaton Terriers and Boston Terriers consistently rank among the top family dog breeds. These dogs are extremely loyal and fun-loving. Terrier breeds tend to be tenacious when it comes to playing and can often outlast a child when fetching a ball. Terrier breeds are also considered quite smart, so teaching the new puppy some tricks should not be too difficult.
Other wonderful family dog breeds include the Cocker Spaniel, the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Australian Shepherd. These breeds, like the ones mentioned earlier, are loyal and playful. A good way to choose the best dog for your family is to spend time with several different breeds. Your local animal shelter is the perfect place to start. They often have pure-bred and mixed breed dogs available and many are trained, spayed or neutered and up to date on all of their vaccinations. Speaking with a local dog trainer or your veterinarian can also help you to decide which dog breed is right for your family.
Even with the recommendation of an expert, every dog has its own personality. Keeping an open mind while searching for the right dog is imperative. Having your heart set on a specific breed to the exclusion of all others is a good way to miss a perfect addition to your family, so be open! Also remember that many dogs can live well into their twenties. This means that your family pet will be around the home even after your child has left for college. Caring for a dog is a big responsibility and the entire family will need to be involved.
Keeping your kids and pets happy is not a difficult job. Some good planning will go a long way toward reaching the goal of happy kids and happy pets.