Animals can be wonderful companions and a first pet can be a step toward your child's learning responsibility of caring for another living creature. Buying the wrong pet for your child's age can have bad results for the child, parent, and pet!

There are many factors to consider before adopting a new pet such as time to spend taking care of the animal depending what you choose, the maturity level of the child capable of handling a new pet and of course finances to pay for items like caging materials, food etc.

Dogs big or small and cats require maintenance, vet checkups, food, medications/vaccines, and exercise. Also, consider the strain of stress on an already existing dog or cat if a new animal is brought in. Would your dog hurt the new puppy or would your cat just ignore the new kitten?

Larger animals are better as a family pet where everyone including the parents get involved. After all, parents pay for the animals upkeep.

Smaller animals like hamsters, gerbils, mice or rats aren't a good choice if your child is a bit younger 3-6 years or rough for example you may want to consider something simpler like a gold fish that doesn't involve handling incase of injury to the child or pet.

Most young kids would want to keep a small pet in their own room but this can result in the child taking the pet out without supervision and harm the animal or get bitten or scratched and want nothing more of the pet. Keeping your youngsters pet in a common area of the house is safer for your child and her pet!

Older children usually 7 and up can more or less benefit from having the responsibility of a rodent kind pet. Hamsters and guinea pigs if bought young and handled by your older child can make a cute little friend.

Pets are living creatures and deserve a happy healthy life even if it's "just a hamster" so please think carefully before choosing that pet to ensure you and your child properly take care of it for it's whole short life and aren't abandoned, or neglected.

My daughter asked me for a chihuahua for her 5th birthday. We already have a dog and although the pup most likely would adapt to our 3-year-old Doberman it wouldn't be fair to our dog to put him through the stress of a new pet already. Young dogs also require training, they don't come knowing where to do their business and trust me, messes will be made. Unless you are prepared for it, a puppy isn't always a great choice just because your kid begs for a new pet.

Also dog food is expensive and having a young baby and a pup at the same time isn't something I'm ready to take on just yet though in the future perhaps another dog. My husband and I will be discussing possibly, maybe getting her a smaller pet however because she has shown more maturity lately and more interest in caring for what's important to her.

Posted in memory of Zeus who passed away winter 2012. We will never forget you boy.

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