Are you considering getting a new dog or cat for your kids? Pets can be beneficial for both children and adults, but if your family has never had a pet before, getting used to this new family member can take some effort and patience. To ensure that things go smoothly, and that you, your children or your pet, don’t get too stressed, you should also take care of these steps.
Make Sure Your Family Budget is Ready for a Pet
Pets can leave pawprints on your heart, but they can also leave a big dent in your budget. The Simple Dollar notes the average lifetime costs to care for a companion animal can vary depending on whether you choose a cat or a dog, but either pet can result in hundreds of dollars in extra expenses annually.
Factor in vet care for animals that get sick or injured, which can happen without warning, and your expenses for really begin to add up fast. So how can you be prepared for the costs of adding a pet to your family? Well you can start by researching pet insurance. There are many pet insurance plans to choose from, so check into deductibles and covered services so you can figure out which is best for your budget. For instance, Embrace provides coverage for emergencies, but this company also provides help with routine checkups and preventative care visits. Since keeping up with preventative care is one of the best ways to reduce pet care costs, having a plan that helps out with those visits can add up to some serious savings for families.
Make Sure Your Home Is Prepared for a New Pet
Are you a plant parent in addition to being a real parent? Then you should know that some of the most common houseplants are highly toxic to pets and can result in serious illness or even death when ingested. If you are thinking about getting a new cat for your family, know that simply coming into contact with certain flowers can prove fatal for both kittens and cats. So you may need to replace your plants with pet-friendly ones, or at least ensure that your new pet will not have access to any potentially dangerous plants.
In addition to assessing any plants, you should also make sure you and your children keep other potentially dangerous items out of reach of your new pet. This includes ensuring that your children do not leave chocolate or chewing gum in reach of dog or cats, especially since the latter can contain highly toxic xylitol. Comfort should be a focus when preparing your family’s home for a new pet as well, so make sure that your pet has a cozy bed or crate to sleep in, as well as any other pet essentials.
Make Sure Your Life is Ready for New Responsibilities
As Hill’s Science Diet explains, pets can teach children some pretty valuable life lessons. In addition to learning about responsibility by helping to take care of a family pet, children who grow up with pets also tend to be more empathetic, better at socializing, and more confident than those that do not. Pets, and especially dogs, can also help keep kids more active.
Along with all of these benefits of owning a pet, however, also come the responsibilities of providing that pet with a safe and happy home. So before you get a pet for your children, really take some time to consider which pet may be best for your current lifestyle, your future goals, and your current home.
Think about who will walk the dog each day or who will scoop the litter box if you decide to get a cat instead. While cats and dogs can make perfect pets for both adults and kids, other animals may provide the same benefits without the same commitment.
Adding a pet to your home is like adding a new family member. That sort of shift can be stressful in the beginning, but properly preparing your home and your children for pet ownership can help. Then your family can focus on all the joys and benefits that come with pets.
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