Monday, April 20, 2009

How To Prepare Your Kids For A New Pet

Getting a new puppy or cat can be such an exciting time in the life of your children. But before the new member of the family comes home, there are ways to prepare for kids for the adorable ball of fluff that will soon invade your house!

It is important for your children to know how to interact with a new pet, and you must set guidelines as to what is acceptable and what is not. Of course, this is all based on the age of your children, so decide before your new pet comes home what acceptable behavior towards your new pet is and what is not acceptable.

By preparing for your new pet with your children ahead of time, it will ensure that your kids and your cat or dog will be buddies rather than afraid of one another. Check out the tips below on how to welcome your new pet home!

----- Let your child practice petting before your puppy or kitten comes home. You can practice on a stuffed animal or on a well behaved, adult pet that belongs to your friends or family. Show them how to be gentle and where to pet the animal (preferably not in the face!)
Show your children how to lift and hold a puppy or kitten with care (again, with a stuffed animal). Teach them not to squeeze too hard when lifting the animal.
----- Pet-proof the house together. This will teach your children about all the trouble dogs and cats can get into, and will also show them how to keep their new pet out of danger. While you are pet-proofing the house, you can discuss with your children what you want and don’t want your new animal to be allowed to do (i.e. puppy is not allowed on the couch or kitty cat is now allowed in the nursery.)
----- Take your new pet to the veterinary together. Have the vet discuss with your child ways to love and care for a pet. Sometimes it is helpful to have an “expert” teach your children ways to care for your new animal.
----- Discuss with your children up front what they will be responsible for in regards to the new pet. For example, if you want your kids to feed and water your new pet, demonstrate how much food and water the animal should get at each feeding. Or if you want you children to be responsible for taking a new puppy outside to go to the bathroom, show them where in the yard you would ideally like the puppy to use the bathroom (i.e. a natural area, etc.) Be as specific with your children as possible when setting up pet responsibilities.
----- If this is a first pet for your children, check out books in the library discussing pets and how to care for them. Reading books with your kids on the subject is an excellent way to prepare your family for the arrival of a new puppy or cat.

Enjoy your new pet from Pure and Honest Kids!

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