In choosing the right pet for the family, parents should first consider the health and safety of children. If your child has any allergies, it is best that you consult a health care provider before you decide to adopt a pet. Talk to your child’s doctor whether it is still possible to have a pet. Ask what kind of pet is ideal for your family.

Another thing that parents need to consider is whether a child is already mature enough to have a pet. Many experts recommend that a child should be at least six years old, so he can already handle pets properly. And since children mature differently, parents need to determine whether a child is indeed ready for a pet. Generally, a child needs to show that he has self-control, and that he can obey simple rules and limits.

Common household pets are dogs and cats, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe at all times. All pets have the potential to bite or scratch when provoked. Your child will definitely have preferences, but the choice of a pet should be made only after you have talked to animal experts like veterinarians or animal shelter adoption counselors. These people can give you much needed information regarding the kind of pet suited for your family.

You need to choose a pet with a gentle disposition. An adult pet with a history of getting along with kids may be a good choice. Choosing younger pets like kittens or puppies may require more care, and they are also prone to play related scratches or bites. Thus, younger pets may not be suitable in households with very young children.

Long before you pick up your new pet, it is important that children are taught the right way to handle it. Explain to your child that pets need to be treated with caution and respect. Even the most tamed pet can react differently when provoked or threatened. Have your child understand that there will be instances when pets don’t want human interaction, or they don’t want to be disturbed especially when eating, resting, or playing with toys.

Parents should never leave a young child alone with a pet. An overexcited pet may bite during periods of rough playing. To prevent bites, children should be taught not to tease or provoke a pet. You may also teach your child warning signs like hissing, lip curling, or growling. These are clear indications that a pet wants to be left alone. Make sure that you have your pet immunized against rabies, and that you follow local ordinances about licensing and leashing of pets.

It may also be good if you set rules at home. Impose rules regarding proper pet care and handling. Help your child understand that pets have limits too, and they need to be treated well so they won’t become too aggressive. It is equally important that you also promote healthy habits at home. Everybody needs to practice proper hand washing, especially after handling a pet.

A pet is a wonderful addition to a family, but parents should teach kids the proper way in caring and handling them. Involve your child in the care of the pet, but make sure that it is age-appropriate. Having a pet at home teaches kids valuable life lessons like responsibility, loyalty, and even friendship. Although a pet may entail more work at home, the lessons it can teach a child may already last a lifetime.