Like anything else in life, owning pets has its drawbacks.
Here are 7 things for your family to consider before agreeing to bring an animal home - whether big, small, feathered, finned, or furry.
And even the caged variety seems able to hurl shavings to the far corners of a room.
We won’t even discuss the perils of a cat with a hairball.
Animals need to be fed, bathed, and groomed. Dogs need walking. Cats need litter boxes scooped. Fish need aquariums cleaned. Often, this will be your work.
You cannot punish a negligent child by punishing a pet. Instead, bring these
animal truth or consequences into play.
If the kid goes off to school without feeding the cat, you can’t let it go without food or water all day.
There will be
times — no matter how old or responsible the child — that the animal
will be your responsibility by default.
Consider how easily you will be able to get someone to look after your animal when the family is on vacation.
If you have many animals or those of the exotic variety, you'll likely need to board them when you’re away or hire a house sitter.
for either of these add up quickly.
Can you say “pet insurance”? Seriously, consider checking into it.
An animal is a member of your family and you cannot let it suffer. Even a box turtle can rack up the vet bills.
Be sure that you are willing to pay what it takes to keep your animal healthy or at least get insurance that will allow you to do the best medical thing you possibly can when the time comes.
“But Mom, the rat is only $2!”
Yes, sweetie, it is - but then there’s
the $35 cage, the $9.95 bag of shavings, the $4.95 house, the $11.95 bag
of food, and the $6.95 rat care book.
Not to mention the cost of the toys it will need, of course, and treats. And the rat will need these things for the two or three years that he lives. And that’s just a rat!
They can bite, scratch, and transmit zoonotic diseases.
If you do choose to get an animal, teach your child how to handle it safely.
Of course they do. Kids lose interest in everything. Their attention spans are about a nanosecond long.
Why would you assume it would be different with an animal?
The key issue in deciding whether or not to get your child an animal is knowing that this animal will probably be yours.
You will be the one who is ultimately responsible, just like you are ultimately responsible for all the other lives in your household.
If you don’t want that responsibility or if you don’t like cats, dogs, snakes, rats - whatever - don’t green-light bringing one home.
The Pros of Animal Ownership
Easy Maintenance Animals
Dogs: A Medium-Maintenance Animal
What Your Should Know About High-Maintenance (Exotic) Animals
Pet Chores for Kids
Cleaning Up Animal Messes
Less-Toxic Ways To Get Rid of Fleas
Avoiding "Cat Scratch Fever" and other Zoonotic Diseases
Return to Family Pets
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About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.