Owning a pet has many benefits, including companionship and unconditional love. Preschool children often enjoy the special relationships that develop between humans and pets. As advantageous as pet ownership can be, parents should take care to avoid placing too much responsibility for care on a young child.
The entire family can work together to take care of a dog, cat, or other animal. While the youngest family members will need supervision with their assigned jobs, they can play a vital role in helping to take care of a pet. Below are three examples of age-appropriate ways that children can care for their pets.
Talk to a child about the importance of a pet having fresh water and food every day. A preschool child is not too young to monitor a water dish to make sure it stays full of fresh water. If the dish needs refilling, the child should inform an older person.
Encourage a child to help with washing and drying a pet’s food dish.
Brush a dog or a cat together with a young child, even giving the youngster a miniature brush to gently use on the fur.
With encouragement and ongoing supervision, even the youngest family members can learn how to care for pets responsibly.