For people who willingly share their home with beloved pets, the urge can be overwhelming to help others become pet parents, as well. This is especially true for grandparents who find themselves eager to gift a grandchild with an adorable first puppy or kitten. But for children who have previously lived in pet-free homes, the responsibilities of caring for a pet on a daily basis may seem overwhelming or even frightening. When this happens, both the pet and the child risk experiencing difficulties that can end badly. If gifting your grandchild with their first pet is something you have your heart set on, use the following tips to make sure that your gift will foster a wonderful, healthy relationship for both the pet and the child.
Start by supervising your grandchild's interaction with your pets for increasing amounts of time
Introducing the child to the pets in your own home is a great way to help them understand what being a pet parent means. If possible, have the child stay with you overnight on several occasions and use these visits to let them learn how to perform daily pet care tasks. Be sure to mix the work of cleaning up after pets with fun times, such as playing with the pet or taking it out on a leash for a walk. As they become proficient in feeding, hygiene, and basic pet care, remember to discuss more advanced topics with them, such as which foods are harmful for pets or why it is best to have them spayed or neutered.
Help the child learn about the particular care needs of the pet you plan to gift
In addition to teaching the child general pet care, make sure you also include lessons on caring for the type of pet you want to gift them, so they will feel more confident when they first have to care for their new pet in their own home.
Support the pet and their new family with an additional gift of pet care counseling
In addition to helping your grandchild learn how to care for the type of pet you will be gifting them, it is also important to make sure the rest of their immediate family also understands basic pet care needs. An excellent way to do this is to gift the entire family with one or more pet care counseling sessions through a reputable veterinarian in the area where the family lives. Pet care counselors can help the new pet owner and their family choose the best foods for the pet, determine a healthy feeding and exercise schedule, and decide how often the pet should be seen for routine veterinary care to keep it healthy and happy.
Check with places like Erz Animal Hospital for more tips.