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5 Ways to Teach Your Child Responsible Pet Care

This week is National Pet Week. The theme for this week, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), is helping pet owners practice responsible pet care. A fun way to celebrate National Pet Week, and get your kids involved, is by teaching your child responsible pet care.

Teaching your child responsible pet care is a great learning tool for the future. These skills will help your child learn about responsibility above and beyond just caring for a pet. Learning responsible pet care will encourage that responsibility in other aspects of life, too.

5 Ways to Teach Your Child Responsible Pet Care

But, how exactly do you teach a child about responsible pet care? With the time, patience, and education it will be a task you will wish you would have tackled earlier. Here are 5 ways to teach your child responsible pet care.

1. Set a positive example of responsible pet care to your children.
As parents, we are all quite aware of how well our children mock our everyday situations in life. The same goes for how we care for our pets. Make sure that you continually display positive examples of responsible pet care to your children.

Even simple behaviors, such as feeding the dog, can show your children what responsible pet care is all about.

2. Teach children about the “downside” of pet care.
We all know that caring for pets isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. There are messes to be cleaned. As well as dirty beds and bowls to be washed. Have your child involved in these activities.

Another possible “downside” of pet ownership is going to the dreaded veterinary office. If your child is old enough to sit through an appointment, take with them with you. This will be a great learning experience for them.

3. Keep a list of daily responsibilities that encourage responsible pet care.
Have a list of daily responsibilities geared towards responsible pet care available for everyone in the family to see. This is a great visual tool to help children see what all goes into being a responsible pet owner.

A great idea is using a dry erase board. This will make it easy to check off the pet care responsibilities on a daily basis.

4. Don’t make responsible pet care a punishment.
Chores aren’t something most children enjoy. Let’s be honest, they aren’t something most people enjoy in general. So, you probably don’t want to make your child pick up dog poop if he or she misbehaves.

Making your child show responsible pet care because he or she misbehaves doesn’t encourage responsible pet care. Instead, doing this can lead to your child having a vengeance against their pet. Which is the total opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.

5. Make your child PROUD when they practice responsible pet care.
Did your child feed the dog without you having to tell them? Make sure you give them a pat on the back! Who doesn’t enjoy a little praise when they do something? Especially when they were never told to do it. The same goes for children who practice responsible pet care.

When you see your child doing a pet chore, without you having to ask them, make sure you display how proud of them you are. As a result, they will want to spend more time doing the right thing.

Teach Your Child Responsible Pet Care for a Positive Outlook on Lifelong Responsibilities

As a conclusion, teaching your child about responsible pet care will lead to a lifelong understanding and respect of responsibilities. All you need is a little patience and time to make your child the most responsible pet owner you know.