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Pocket Pets and Children

Are you considering getting your child a pocket pet? Hamsters, gerbils, Guinea pigs, and other tiny animals are all very popular children’s pets, and can all make great first pets. That said, there are some things to consider before getting your child a pet. Below, a Livonia, MI vet discusses pocket pets and children.

Benefits of Having A Pet

Having a pet can be very beneficial for a child. Our animal friends can teach our young ones about compassion and empathy, and can provide unconditional love and friendship. Of course, they also make great playmates!

Timing It Right

Before adopting a new pet, you’ll need to gauge whether or not your child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of caring for an animal. There is no set age for this, since every child matures differently, but we don’t generally recommend getting pets for children that are younger than five years old. Consider whether or not your child does chores and homework on their own, or if they need to be prodded.

Supervision

Be sure to supervise all interactions very carefully. Children should only handle pocket pets when sitting down, as these tiny furballs can be seriously hurt if they are accidentally dropped. You’ll also want to make sure your child understands that a pet is not a toy: it is a living being, with needs and feelings. Even the gentlest pet can bite if they feel scared or threatened.

Backup Plan

Getting a pet is a lifelong commitment, and not something that should be taken lightly. It’s all too common for a child to beg for a pet, and then quickly lose interest. Make sure you are willing to take over your furry friend’s care if this happens. If not, you may want to reconsider.

Choosing The Pet

Hamsters, gerbils, Guinea pigs, and mice are all popular children’s pets. These little furballs are all fairly easy to care for, are super cute, and are typically quite gentle. Even so, you’ll want to do some research on all the possible options before making a choice. For instance, if you plan to keep your furry pal in your child’s room, you may not want to get a hamster, as they are nocturnal and could keep your youngster awake at night.

Do you have any questions about pocket pet care? Call us, your Livonia, MI veterinary clinic, anytime!

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