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Thinking of Getting a Pet for your Child? The Do’s and Don’ts

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Happy New Year friends and hope it has started off well for you and your family. So, this year, I intend to be publishing a new post every Tuesday. Starting today 😊. So be sure to be coming by every Tuesday to read something new from me.

What are the do’s and don’ts of pet-keeping, especially if you’re getting pets for your children? I personally don’t have pets in my house and neither did I grow up with pets in our home, but I do know of households where pets are an invaluable part of the family.

Also See: 8 Places to See Wildlife in Nairobi (Fun Outing for Kids!)

Some of the common pets in homes include: dogs, cats, lizards (my friend’s son keeps a gecko), rabbits, fish, parrots and many more.So what are the do’s and don’ts of pet-keeping?

Below are some tips from one mom -Yvonne Njoki, who currently has two cats and a Japanese Spitz. She plans on adding to her brood another dog and cat.

Yvonne has always had cats in her house even before she became a mom. Her daughter, who is a year and a half old, has developed a similar love for pets.

Here are her insights based on her observations and experiences:

  1. Confirm that your child loves animals. Don’t force an animal on a child
  2. Be financially and emotionally ready for the task ahead because pets are a labor of love… and money. They need to be fed, housed, groomed, taken to the veterinary doctor, cared for, taken for walks, shown affection …
  3. Training your pet is both easy and hard. It depends on the type of pet and the breed. However, first time pet owners can consider getting an older already-trained pet
  4. When it comes to dogs, it is important to know that not all dog breeds are suitable for small children
  5. Ensure you vaccinate your pet. They also need to be dewormed
  6. Teach your children to respect the animals. No beating, pulling, tagging seating on them, tying them up, snatching their food, pulling their hair out, dragging them by the ears etc. remember that even the mildest of animals can turn defensive when hit or pulled.

Below are other helpful insights that I’ve gathered from my friends and who keep pets:

  1. If buying a pet, make sure it’s a healthy one. Get a pet from a reputable source (a vet can recommend this). Or if you’re being gifted a pet, do your due diligence and establish that it’s not a sick animal being ‘donated’ to you. Find out if it’s up to date with its vaccinations
  2. Do your kids have allergies? Be sure to establish this before you bring a pet home. For example, some children are allergic to fur, saliva, feathers etc. Remember that some allergies can trigger asthmatic attacks or intense itching that can cause sores, which can lead to infection.
  3. Young children should never be left alone with pets. Their interaction must be supervised by an adult
  4. Don’t allow the pet to lick the baby or child, especially if there are any cuts or bruises. Pets usually like licking faces so be wary of this
  5. Pets can be a source of conflict between you and your neighbors, especially when they stray into their compound and poop there or destroy their gardens, or when they are excessively loud etc.
  6. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and clean water after all contact with a pet. Ensure the kids wash their hands with soap before each meal
  7. Involve your child in the care of the pet. It helps them learn about responsibility
  8. Teach your children to watch for danger signs in the pet

How about you? Do you have pets in your home? What other tips would you add? Let us know in the comments section down below.

Thanks for reading and see you next Tuesday. Meanwhile, if you have a story you’d like to share with other moms, you can email me on maryanne@mummytales.com and I’ll be in touch with you.

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Mummy Tales is a platform dedicated to empowering its readers on different aspects of maternal and newborn health, as well as various issues surrounding motherhood and women. Read more motherhood experiences of Kenyan moms here. Connect with Mummy Tales on: YOUTUBEFACEBOOK l INSTAGRAM l TWITTER 

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