Friday, February 4, 2011
Learning to become a responsible pet owner can start at an early age. Children can begin by learning important things about their pets. Here are five things every kid should know about their pet.
1. Your pet isn't a toy. A pet is a living creature and is nothing like a stuffed animal. Your pet cannot be forgotten about or ignored, or simply taken out to play when you feel like it.
2. A pet needs to be cared for even when you don't feel like it. Even if you are sick, your pet will still be hungry and need to be fed. Just as you can't ignore your pet, you also can't make your pet understand when you feel too tired or busy to take care of him. Just think of how it is when your parents are sick – they still take care of you even when they don't feel good. See yourself as your pet's parent, and remember that your job never ends (just like Mom and Dad's job as a parent!).
3. Taking care of a pet is a long-term commitment. Just like you can't ignore your pet and you must take care of him even when you don't feel like it, taking on the responsibility of a pet is not something that only happens when you feel like it. Many pets live for years, and caring for them requires an investment of time that could last a long time.
4. It takes an investment of your time to be a responsible pet owner. Caring for your pet isn't just about feeding them healthy food (like CANIDAE!) every day. Your pet wants and needs your time and attention. A pat on the head isn't enough for your pet to become socialized and form a bond with you. Spending quality time playing and interacting with your pet is an important part of being a pet owner. Make sure to plan time for playing with and showing affection to your pet.
5. Know your pet's likes and dislikes. Get to know your pet well enough to know what he likes and what he doesn't like. Why is this important? Isn't it important to you that your Mom and Dad know the things that you really like (such as pizza or Sponge Bob)? How about the things you really, really don't like? You want your parents and anyone who takes care of you to know that you hate peppers on your pizza or prefer the tags cut out of your shirts. While your pet can't tell you this, they have the same needs. If your dog is afraid of men, or thunderstorms, this is important for you to know so you can help your pet when he is scared or upset. In the same way, if your pet has a favorite blanket or toy – well, that's a great thing for you to know as well.
It is also important to know how to approach your own pet and unfamiliar pets. Read RPO blog writer Linda Cole's article about how to approach an unfamiliar dog, which can also help you understand your pet a little better. Now is the time for you to learn how to be the best pet owner you can become – for the pet you have now and for pets you will have in the future.
For more information about becoming a responsible pet owner, read How to Help Kids Learn Responsible Pet Ownership.
Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters