Having a pet at home as a kid can be beneficial in many ways. It can teach you the value of responsibility, companionship, and caring for something other than yourself. Owning a pet is not just a temporary thing–it is a permanent responsibility that you must care for on a daily basis. You should care for your pet properly so you do not neglect them and help your parents train the pet so it is well behaved. You should also make sure you deal with any issues your pet is having responsibly so you do not harm your pet in any way.
Caring for the Pet
Give food and water to the pet. You should start by providing the necessities for your pet, including food and fresh water. Your parents may already have a feeding schedule set up, with set times in the day for feeding your pet. You should follow this feeding schedule and ask your parents if you can help them with giving your pet food and water on a daily basis.
- You can help your parents put your pet’s food in their bowl and make sure that your pet eats all of their food. You may also be allowed to give your pet a healthy treat, with the supervision of a parent.
- Always ask your parents if it’s time to feed the pet before you do it yourself. Your pet may have a strict feeding schedule so they are not overfed or underfed.
- If you have a pet dog, rabbit, bird or hamster, you should also keep an eye on your pet’s water dish as your pet may end up drinking a lot of water throughout the day. Try to always keep it full with fresh water. If you are younger than 10 years old, you may need help lifting and pouring water into your pet’s water dish.
Clean up after the pet. You can also be a good pet owner by making sure you clean up after your pet. This means picking up any food that falls out of their food bowl and wiping up any water around their water dish so their feeding area is clean. You can also pick up any pet toys and put them in a bin or in one area so they are not scattered all over the house.
- You may also be able to help your parents clean your pet’s cage or living area. If you have a pet hamster, bird, lizard, or rabbit, you may help your parents remove and replace the newspaper lining in your pet’s cage or help them pick up droppings in the cage. If you have a fish, you may help your parents change out the water in the fish tank so it is clean and fresh.
- Make sure you always wear gloves or use a tissue to pick up any pet droppings. Wash your hands well after touching your pet’s droppings.
Groom the pet. You can also pitch in and groom your pet on a regular basis. Depending on the type of pet you have, this may mean brushing your dog, rabbit, or cat once a day. You may be able to do this on your own or with the supervision of your parents.
- If you have a dog, you can also make sure your pet gets a bath once a week and stays clean. You may help your parents bathe your pet or bathe your pet yourself. Make sure you use the right techniques to bath your pet.
- Do not try to bath other pets like a rabbit, a bird, a hamster or a cat. These animals can self clean themselves and do not need regular baths.
- If your pet is a dog, you should check your pet for fleas or ticks on a daily basis. If you notice your pet has fleas or ticks, you should tell your parents.
Take your dog for daily walks. If you have a pet dog, you will need to walk them on a daily basis, especially if your dog is medium to large in size. You should create a walking schedule with your parents and assist your parents in walking your pet. You may put the collar or harness on the dog and take a turn holding the leash during the walk, with the supervision of a parent.
- If your dog is a puppy, you should only walk him a five to ten minutes a day. Ask your parents about how often you can walk your new puppy and follow their directions.
- If you have other pets, like a cat, a bird, a hamster, or a rabbit, you may not need to walk them. Instead, you should spend time playing with these pets so they still get some exercise.
Play with your pet. You should spend at least ten to fifteen minutes a day playing with your pet so they feel loved and acknowledged by you. You should also use encouraging words and reward them with a treat if they behave well.
- Make sure you use your fingers to gently pet and stroke your pet. Always be gentle when playing with your pet so you do not hurt them.
- Use pet toys to play with your pet. You may use a light pen to stimulate your pet fish or a treat to teach your bird a fun new trick. You can also use balls to play with a pet cat or a pet dog.
- Try not to play with your pet too often and give your pet some downtime during the day. Your pet needs time to nap and rest so they are not overly tired or stressed.
Helping Your Parents Train the Pet
Teach your dog basic obedience commands. Your pet should be trained properly to ensure they live well with you and your parents. A well trained pet will also be less of an issue when they meet other pets and strangers outside of your home. You should discuss your pet’s training with your parents and be sure it includes basic obedience commands, especially if your pet is a dog.
Do not give your pet unhealthy treats or food. You should also avoid giving your pet any food or treats that are not allowed by your parents. Giving your pet unhealthy food could conflict with their training and lead to health issues.
- You should also avoid giving your pet food from your plate the table, even when your parents aren’t looking. This can conflict with your pet’s training schedule and their feeding schedule.
- Do not put unhealthy food in your pet’s cage. Some pets are not allowed to have human food because it can make them sick so always check with your parents before giving your pet a treat.
Follow your parent’s house rules for the pet. Your parents will likely have their own set of house rules for the pet, such as not allowing the pet on furniture or in certain areas of the house. You should make sure your pet follows these rules, even when your parents are not home. This way, your pet is not confused about the rules and is not encouraged to behave badly.
- If you are unclear about the house rules for your pet, you can ask your parents to write them down for you and post them in an accessible area, such as on the fridge or by the front door. You can then refer to the rules if you are not sure if your pet is allowed to do certain things in your house.
Dealing With Pet Issues Responsibly
Tell your parents if your pet is behaving badly. You should always let your parents deal with your pet when he behaves badly as you do not want to be aggressive with your pet on your own. Your pet may get annoyed and you are at a greater risk of injury than your parents if this happens.
- Instead, you should let your parents know when your pet is acting out or behaving badly and allow them to address it properly. As you get older, your parents may teach you how to address your pet’s bad behavior in a positive and helpful way.
Let your parents know if your pet seems ill or sick. You may notice that your pet seems ill and is displaying signs of a sickness or a health issue. Let your parents know right away if you notice anything, as they can then take your pet to the vet and get your pet examined.
- It is important that you keep an eye on your pet and pay attention to your pet often, as this will ensure you notice any health issues before they become a larger problem. You may also discuss the symptoms of common illnesses with your parents so you know which signs to watch out for in your pet.
Add to your pet responsibilities as you get older. As you grow up, your pet ownership duties may change. Your parents may feel you are mature enough to help them do other pet chores and tasks. You should try to take good care of your pet now so your parents feel they can trust you with more pet responsibilities in the future.
- Children over the age of 10 can usually assume many of the basic responsibilities of caring for a pet. Your parents may supervise you from afar but will likely allow you to complete many of the daily tasks required for good care of your pet.