How To Prepare Your Kid For Dog Ownership
Growing up with a pet creates many heartfelt memories. The bond of a child with a dog has been the topic of many classic stories. However, there is more to pet care than good times and fond memories. Children should be prepared to accept the responsibility of caring for a dog before one joins the family.
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Like other living creatures, a pet must be fed daily, preferably on a specific dog feeding schedule. For some breeds, this might be twice a day while others eat three times daily. Follow the veterinarian’s advice, and adjust the eating schedule and amount as the dog grows or gets older. Fresh water should be available at all times. A dry water dish could cause health problems for the dog, and the child owner needs to understand the importance of both dependable food and water. Toileting a dog is essential for health and for cleanliness of the animal and the home. The child may need to walk the dog outside for toileting or supervise the pet while running free in the back yard.
Grooming and Hygiene
A pet dog should be groomed routinely, whether by the owner or at a canine salon. This often includes trimming the nails, cleaning the ears and teeth, and keeping fleas and ticks away. Occasional baths and brushing are necessary, and again, may be handled by a pet groomer or the child if he or she is old enough to do this type of work. Parents can help out as needed. The pet’s dishes, toys, and leash should also be routinely cleaned with scattered dog food or water cleared up as well.
Health and Well Being
Children can learn to spot signs of illness or health issues in a dog. Pets that frequently whine without cause, pant heavily, or stop eating and drinking on schedule should be monitored to see if an illness becomes evident. While parents can schedule a vet visit when needed, the child can help by managing the pet on a leash or calming the dog in its travel crate to and from the veterinarian’s office. Most veterinarians are very accommodating to family members, including children, in explaining a pet’s health needs or illness. Your child can learn a great deal by being part of the veterinary visit.
Exercise and Fun
Puppies are cute and fun at first, and kids love playing with their new pet. But in time, the novelty wears off, and children may lose interest in caring for their dog. They need to be taught that dogs need exercise to stay healthy. Dogs also love having fun by playing with the children masters. Running, fetching, and just spending time together outside or indoors will make both the child and the pet happy.
Courtesy and Consideration
The importance of safety should be emphasized to kids so they can watch out for the pet when playing outside. Many excited or runaway dogs get hit by cars or become lost, and kids need to train their pets the boundaries of the home property. Dogs should also be taught not to bark at neighbors or people passing nearby unless the person seems to be acting suspiciously or menacingly. When visiting with the child’s friends, the dog should be taught not to jump up on others and to play gently, especially with smaller children or older people. Simple commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “come” are essential for basic pet training.
Although young children probably cannot contribute to the cost of owning a dog, older children who have jobs may be able to donate something toward the pet’s care. Dog food, a collar or leash, and pet toys are not that expensive and will teach the child the value and good feeling of financially helping to support a pet dog.
Getting your child a dog is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility. It can also teach kids to care about others as well as themselves. Choose a breed that will fit comfortably into your home and lifestyle. Provide your child with guidance and support in learning to care for a loving puppy pet.