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Identifying Age-Appropriate Pet Care Activities for Kids

Your child may love your pet, and they might even show interest in taking care of them. However, a pet is a serious responsibility, and some children simply aren’t old enough to properly care for another living being. That doesn’t mean you can’t begin teaching your child how to take care of a pet early on–you just have to know which tasks are age-appropriate and which ones should only be handled by adults. 

Kids Under 6

  • Walking: Any child under 6 should never be given the leash–both for their safety and the safety of your pet. However, you can certainly take your child along on walks and teach them the importance of exercise for themselves and for your pet. 
  • Meals: You’ll probably have to measure out portion sizes or open any packaging, but it’s okay to let your child put the allotted amount into your pets bowl or put the bowl down on the ground under direct supervision. 
  • Play: Young children love to play with pets, and this can include anything from tug of war to throwing a ball around the yard. However, they should be supervised at all times to prevent any accidents and make sure they’re playing safely and gently. 

Kids Over 7 Through 12

  • Meals: Now that your child is a little older, they can take on more responsibility when it comes to feeding. However, you’ll probably still need to make sure the portions are correct and that everything is cleaned up. 
  • Waste: Dealing with litter boxes or cleaning up after a dog isn’t always the most popular chore, but it’s important to teach your child these habits early on to keep your pet’s space clean and teach your child the importance of good hygiene. 
  • Training: Older kids should be included when it comes time for training. This builds trust between your child and your pet, and shows your child how to properly care for a pet in the future. 

If you have any questions about what is and isn’t appropriate for your child, please feel free to contact your veterinarian today.