Having a childhood pet is a wonderful learning experience for a child. Children learn how to take responsibility for another living thing, and provide care. Children with pets understand that their needs do not always come first, and that sometimes taking care of their pets must take precedent over their own need to play or relax.
These children tend to be more caring, less selfish, and happier than children who do not grow up with pets. Children with pets also tend to exercise more than children without pets, and spend more time outdoors. This results in healthier children and a decrease in childhood obesity. Since childhood obesity is a growing epidemic with serious medical consequences, including childhood diabetes and other serious illnesses, getting a pet for a child can be a valuable learning experience and an important health decision.
In addition, children often learn about death through the process of having a pet. For many children, the loss of a beloved family pet is their first experience with death. Through the burial of a pet, the selection of pet grave markers or pet urns, and the writing of pet memorials, children learn how to cope with death and with pet loss.
Children come to understand and deal with the permanence of death, by saying goodbye to their family pets. This learning experience is important, and prepares children for larger losses that they may experience later in their lives, such as the death of grandparents. It also helps them learn to better understand and manage grief and disappointment in other areas of their lives.
Although these benefits are important, there are also risks associated with giving a child a pet. First, some dog breeds can be less tolerant than others of the rough play of a curious child. Parents who are purchasing a dog for their children need to consider the temperament of the dog, and the dogs’ age. Older dogs may be less equipped to deal with a boisterous child, while very young puppies may not understand that a child is not a toy. A breeder or reputable pet rescue should be able to help match the appropriate dog to the home setting, factoring in the age of the children and the temperament of the dog.
If children are very young, a dog or cat may not be the ideal pet because even the gentlest animal may not react properly to a child who does not know how to play gently with the animal. If a very young child does have a pet, that child must be supervised and taught appropriate behavior.
The most important thing, however, about selecting a pet for a child, is remembering that children are not equipped to care for pets on their own. Most children do not have the time, the attention span, or the level of responsibility necessary to care for a pet full time. This is especially true of a puppy. They don’t even have any idea about the best products that the dog needs that can be found here: https://incrediblethings.com/cbd/great-reasons-to-try-cbd-for-dogs-and-cats/ Getting a puppy or a dog for a child and expecting that child to be solely responsible for its care and training is a recipe for disaster. Any dogs purchased should be “family dogs” and belong to the whole family. Parents must be prepared to take responsibility- both financial and otherwise- for any pet that they bring home for a child.