Gifts for kids: 8 things to consider before getting pets for kids

So your child has been nagging for a while. Nagging for a pet and his/her birthday is around the corner. So, you are considering that request. Pet is a nice addition to the family. No doubts that many families who own pets, admitted how much joy their pets have brought them.  Your child can learn about nurturing and loving too. Having said that, pets come with great responsibilities (just like having a human child). So before surprising your child with a pet, there are a few things you need to really consider.

We are ever so thankful to have Erin, who is one of the most passionate pet owners out there to help us write this piece of article. She was involved in a dog rescue before and she's now a President at The Bunny Burrow , a non-profit rabbit rescue organisation which currently is caring for 25 bunnies. She owns 5 rescued dogs and 7 bunnies and also homeschooling her two kids (seriously…! A super woman if you ask me).

Here are 8 things to consider before getting pets for kids:

1. Age of the child
Age of child will all hinge on type of pet. All kids are different. Some display a lot of responsibility at a young age. Some not until they are older. Some never! For example, my daughter Hannah, got a hamster at age 3, however she was very responsible and far more mature than her age. I also knew that she would only be responsible for easy things, like filling the water bottle. All the other care was my responsibility as an adult. Getting a pet for a child is never a good idea unless the parents have realistic expectations.
2. Type of pet
This will depend on what the parents have had or how much research the parent has done if they have no experience. Different pets come with different needs. There really is no such thing as a "starter pet" for a child.
3. Size of pet
Once you know what type of pet to get, size does matter too. Small dogs could mean an accidental injury to the dog. Big dogs could mean an accidental injury to child (knocking over child). So, know your child and your family situation to see how the pet can fit into the family.
4. Expenses
All pets can be costly. You must consider more than just feeding. Vet expenses can easily add up (yearly wellness exams, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, any illnesses). Exotic pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets mean higher vet costs being that their needs are different /unique.
5. Safety
Safety needs to be taken into an account as well when having a pet. Each pet will require different housing requirements. For example dogs like to chew. So things like shoes should not be left where a dog can have access. They should also be 'crated' when you cannot be home to supervise, especially when they are puppies.
6. Time
How is your schedule like as parent? Will you be able to provide the care for the pet you are going to get for your child?  Baby animals like puppies are so adorable, but you need to realize that they are going to need lots of your time and patience. So, you want to think these through as a pet does need TLC from its owner too..
7. Education
Education is a key to successful pet ownership. Read books. Ask friends and family who have pets. Researching on the internet can be very useful too. If child is too young to read/research, it is up to the parent to do so and teach their child.
8. Always adopt
There are far too many unwanted and homeless pets of all kinds out there. Adopting will help these animals to find their forever homes. Just to mention few places you can adopt from in Minnesota:
Animal Humane Society , Midwest AnimalRescue & Services,  Ruff start Rescue , Secondhand Hounds 

“The one, most single thing I cannot stress enough is parent involvement. There is not one single kind of pet that is good for any kids to care for alone. Parents should never get a child a pet without knowing they will be responsible for the pets. A pet should be considered a part of the family and be a family decision” 

Thank you so much for your contribution Erin!

If pest are not on your list of gifts, you may want to consider some other ideas on our  directory of 65+ non-toy gifts for kids.