Introducing a cat or dog into a family home can be exciting but also involves a lot of responsibility.

If you are considering extending your family with a furry friend, then here is some handy and helpful advice for what you need to know and how you can get the kids involved too!

When is the right time to get a pet?

It is generally ideal to ensure your pet is comfortable within your home before you start a family. This way, you can make any necessary changes and prepare your pet for the baby’s arrival ahead of time.

Such changes can include making sure they sleep where you will want them to and that they are trained to a level that helps you manage them and a young child at the same time.

It can be hard work caring for a child and a new pet at the same time so if you have already trained one, the job is halved!

By helping to take care of their pet’s health, children can learn more about managing their own health.

Studies show that there are an array of both physical and psychological health benefits of pet ownership.

For instance, there is evidence that a newborn joining a household with pet exposure will decrease their allergic sensitisation.

Additionally, assisting in taking care of their pet’s health, can help children learn more about managing their own health.

In fact, children involved with pets are generally more active and subsequently less likely to become obese.

However, it is important that your child is at a responsible age to handle any pet care duties as ensuring the safety of both your child and your pet is essential.

Studies reveal that children over the age of 10 are less likely to sustain an animal bite so this is a good indication of when it is suitable to start giving your child pet training responsibility.




Kids who own a pet are likely to be more active.

How to get your kids involved in pet care

The key to introducing your child to pet care is to start them off with tasks that you know your pet enjoys. This will help establish a positive relationship and teach your child that looking after a pet can be fun. Some good options include:

  • Pet brushing – allow your child to do this with your supervision. Be sure to show them how to brush your pet gently and not just in one spot. However, if you notice that your pet has knots, step in for your child as, just like us, our pets do not enjoy having their tangles pulled out.
  • Putting on a dog harness – if your dog is not too excitable when going for walks, you can start with teaching your children to put their harness on. If a harness is going to be used in the car, getting your child’s help with putting it on and attaching it to the seatbelt properly can also help them learn about using a seatbelt themselves.
  • Positive reward training – get your child involved in basic pet training by showing them how to give their pet a treat. Try to use treat that you know your pet loves but is also beneficial to their health.
  • Purina Dentalife® is a good option that helps keep your pets teeth healthy. These daily treats are designed to help clean your pets teeth and are scientifically tested to reduce tartar build-up particularly on the hard-to-reach back teeth. They can also be used to reward your cat or dog for a simple request such as to sit. Teaching your pet to sit gives you a tool to help your pet in other situations and involving your child, when appropriate, can help establish the appropriate relationship between them.

So, while adding a dog or cat to your family can be a little daunting, it is enjoyable and rewarding, especially for children. Not only do they have a new friend and companion, it is an opportunity for them to learn about being caring and responsible.