What to Consider Before Giving a Pet to Your Children?

Giving a pet to your children as a gift is a good option, but you must take into account a series of factors to provide comfort and safety.
What to Consider Before Giving a Pet to Your Children?

Last update: 15 August, 2022

Animals are at the top of the list of gifts that children ask their parents for. However, giving a gift like this isn’t a decision that can be taken lightly. There are a series of aspects to consider before giving a pet to your children, and we’ll tell you what they are.

Giving a pet as a gift can be an excellent idea, because what child doesn’t love having one? Generally, little ones incline toward dogs or cats, which become their best friends to play with, go for a walk with, and entertain themselves. However, you should think about the great responsibility that comes with a pet, because it’s not an object, but a living being that needs care and attention.

Considerations to take into account before giving a pet to your children

Before buying a pet in a store or adopting one in a foundation or organization that defends animals, take the time to really analyze the pros and cons to make the best decision. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

1. A pet needs time and attention

One of the first things to consider when giving a pet to your children is that it needs care, time, and attention. This responsibility shouldn’t only fall on the children, but also on the adults. It’s obvious that children don’t have the ability or maturity to take care of an animal on their own (even though they might think they do when they ask for one), so you’ll have to do it yourself or share the tasks with the rest of the family.

You’ll have to feed it, bathe it, play with it, take it for a walk, and educate it, among other things. Likewise, you should ask yourself if you have the long-term economic resources to buy food, take it to the vet, provide it with medicines, vaccines, or toys so it can entertain itself, and if you’re prepared to cover any medical emergency expenses.

2. What kind of pet to give as a gift?

Children usually prefer dogs or cats, but there are also other types of animals they may like, such as a hamster, rabbits, fish, turtles, or some birds. Choose what kind of pet they would like and look for a friendly breed, in the case that it’s a dog or a cat. That way, the kids can play and have fun, and you’ll have peace of mind.

Among the best dog breeds for homes with children are Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, St. Bernards, Schnauzers, and Collies, which are affectionate, playful, and easy to train. If your children prefer a cat, the most sociable cats are Maine Coons, Persians, Turkish Angoras, Siamese, and Himalayans.

A grey long-haired cat with blue eyes.
The Himalayan cat is one of the most sociable felines and could be a great companion for your children.

3. At what age should you give a pet to your children?

Age is a very important factor when looking for a pet for your children. In this case, it’s best to give a dog or cat when your children are between five and six years old. At this age, they’ll be old enough to understand that the pet is a living being and not a toy, and they’ll be able to participate in its care.

Pets that require less attention are ideal for younger children, such as hamsters, turtles, and some types of fish, as they don’t require much time or effort. Remember, however, that these animals are very fragile, so you should always supervise your children around them.

4. Take into account your home before giving a pet to children

If you plan to bring the pet to the house or apartment where you live, make sure that there’s enough space for your children’s new friend. You need to provide a comfortable place to sleep, to be protected from rain or sun, and to run and play .

If it’s a large animal, it’ll need much more space. Also think about who could take care of it when you are away or where you’re going to leave it if you take a vacation.

And of course, if you’re renting, you need to make sure that you’re allowed to have pets.

5. Household allergies

When bringing a pet into your home, consider the allergies of the people who live there. For example, if someone is allergic to cats, it’s best not to bring one into your home. Choose another animal with won’t cause problems for any of the members of your family.

A girl sneezing near a golden retriever.
Before choosing a new pet, you should consider whether someone might have an allergic reaction.

6. Adopting a new lifestyle

When giving a pet to your children, you should consider that your lifestyle and that of the family members will change.

It’s best for the decision to bring a pet into the home to be consensual. Everyone should agree to take part in the care of the animal and express their willingness to live with it and make it feel comfortable and safe.

7. Preparation of the animal

If you’ve decided to give a dog or a kitten to your children, make sure it’s vaccinated and dewormed. Before you take it home, take it to the veterinarian to find out if it has any disease and ask the vet about the animal’s vaccination schedule so that you can follow it strictly. This will assure both the health of the animal and the health of your family.

Teach your children a sense of responsibility

Having a pet at home teaches children a sense of responsibility, respect, and love for animals. At the same time, children develop communication skills, as they learn to socialize, become empathetic, and express their feelings.

After taking all these considerations into account, decide on the type of animal and breed that best suits your home and welcome the new member. Having a pet will bring many benefits to the children and the whole family.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.