Let your kids help choose a family pet – part three

Let your kids help choose a family pet – part three

Have your new pets checked by a vet, especially before bringing them into a home where you already have other animals, to quickly catch, treat and prevent the spread of any diseases that may have been contracted while you were at the pet store or shelter. You wouldn’t want a happy moment to turn into a tragedy. It is also important that the vet takes care of any necessary vaccinations and routine treatments for worms and the like.

Prepare your home for the new arrivals before you actually bring them home. Buy pet beds and food bowls, toys and litter boxes, brushes and leashes. Prepare everything in place when you welcome your pets to their new home and of course provide good pet food that will provide them with well-balanced diets. Junk food is just as bad for pets as it is for people!

Before your pet arrives, you and your children should thoroughly inspect your home to remove anything that could be dangerous to pets. The image of a puppy chewing on a slipper is familiar, but the same puppy can also chew electrical cords. Poinsettias are poisonous to cats, and cats can ingest Christmas tinsel or pieces of twine and yarn that can block their intestines. Walk around your home and hide cables, store medicines and household cleaning products, and keep sharp objects out of reach. Learn which houseplants can be poisonous if ingested, and don’t leave heavy objects where they can be knocked over. Turn it into a game where your kids look for potential pet hazards and figure out ways to eliminate each one.

Puppies and kittens will invariably break into anything they have access to, so be careful they don’t lock themselves in drawers or climb on kitchen appliances. Take the same precautions you would with very young children in the house. Teach your children to keep your pet’s safety in mind at all times. Animals have a tendency to be forever underfoot, so teach your children to move slowly and carefully and to look before they take a step or sit. Teach them to open doors slowly in case a furry little person is right behind that door.

When your new pets first come home, try to give them a quiet place and plenty of time to adjust to their new environment. Sights, sounds and smells will play a role as your pets gradually learn to navigate their new homes. Don’t overstress new pets with too much noisy attention and fuss. Too many hands reaching out to pat or pick them up can be intimidating. Let the pets gradually get used to the children in the house. With lots of love and affection and socialization practice, your new pet will soon find its place in the family. Supervise young children until they learn how to be gentle and attentive to pets’ needs and feelings: no sudden noises, no pulling tails, no dressing pets in human clothes, no teasing them. When your children understand why they shouldn’t do these things, they will learn to respect their fellow human beings as autonomous beings and grow up to be compassionate, caring adults.

Be careful when introducing new pets to pets already living in the house to avoid conflicts. Give your older pets plenty of attention and affection to prevent jealousy and resulting aggression. Be careful not to ignore them in favor of newcomers, just as you would be careful not to neglect your older children when a new baby is born in the family. For animals, there may be territorial issues to work out and strange new scents to decipher. You should also take precautions when introducing your new pet to its outdoor environment and new yard or neighborhood to avoid unnecessary disorientation and anxiety or worse.

As new pets settle into the routine of daily life in your house, you and your children can put into practice all the pet care tips you’ve read about: provide your pets with a healthy diet, always give them access to fresh, clean water, encourage plenty of exercise in a safe environment, and maintain all necessary vaccinations and other medical treatments. And never leave pets in hot parked cars in the summer, as temperatures inside cars can quickly rise and endanger the lives of animals trapped inside.

Take care of your pet’s every need, from daily brushing to periodic toenail trimming to annual vaccinations. Give pets toys that are safe to play with, without sharp edges that could poke eyes or stab throats. Your pets use their mouths to play with objects, so there are no small parts that can be bitten off or swallowed. Respect the animal’s need for privacy. When your pets need some quiet time alone, rest assured they’ll get it. Provide them with nice soft beds, boxes to climb into, and other safe hiding places in far away places. Teach your children to respect your pet’s moods and not disturb them when they sleep. The better your children know the animals that live in your house and the more involved they are in the care and daily life of your pet, the closer they will be to them and the more they will love them.

The unconditional love that animals like cats and dogs can give to people is one of the best gifts you can give your children, and the best gift you can give your pets is unconditional a love which you and your children sympathize with them. The love that pets give to people can also help children through difficult times. Trusted dogs or cats will actively seek attention, play and cuddles, and their companionship will be constant when friends, schools and other things may change. Pets are always there to listen to children’s problems, share their joys and keep them company in times of loneliness, and children can entrust their secrets to their pet with the absolute certainty that the animal will never betray their trust .
This kind of absolute love and devotion can bring children and animals together in such a special way, and this interspecies bond can help your children grow up to be compassionate adults who feel more connected to the natural world. Pets give their best and in return we should give our best for them. They deserve all the love, time, attention, play and affection that your children and you can give them.

Pets are not toys, they are family members. When new pets are added to a household, with proper care and lots of love, they will soon find their place in your hearts and lives and you will all wonder how you ever managed without them!

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