HomePet AdoptionTips for Adopting a Pet When You Have Children

Tips for Adopting a Pet When You Have Children

Pet adoption is a significant decision, especially when you have children. Adding a furry friend to your family can bring joy, responsibility, and companionship for both kids and adults. However, before embarking on the journey of pet adoption, it’s crucial to consider the needs and dynamics of your family to ensure a successful transition. In this guide, we will explore the factors to consider when welcoming a pet into a home with children, how to choose the right pet for your family, and tips for preparing your family for the new addition.

Benefits of Adopting a Pet with Children

Pets are not just animals; they become part of families and play a vital role in the development and well-being of children. Here are some of the benefits of adopting a pet when you have children:

  • Companionship: Pets provide unconditional love and companionship, which is especially essential for only children or those with siblings much older or younger.
  • Responsibility: Taking care of a pet teaches children about responsibility, patience, and empathy. They learn that their actions have an impact on others, and it helps them develop a sense of accountability.
  • Physical activity: Many pets, such as dogs, require regular exercise, which encourages children to be more physically active.
  • Emotional well-being: Studies have shown that pets can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in both children and adults.
  • Social skills: Having a pet can help shy or introverted children to open up and interact with others, as well as teach them about boundaries and respect for others’ personal space.

Considerations Before Adopting


Before diving into pet adoption, it’s important to take some time to think and discuss with your family whether it is the right decision for you. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Family’s Lifestyle

Each family has a unique lifestyle, and it’s crucial to consider how a pet will fit into it. Do you have enough time and energy to devote to a pet? Are you an active family that would prefer a dog to join in on outdoor activities, or do you prefer a cat who will be content lounging at home? These are essential questions to ask yourself before adopting.


Owning a pet comes with financial responsibilities. Beyond the adoption fees, you will need to consider costs such as food, grooming, vaccinations, toys, and possible medical expenses. Make sure you are financially prepared for these ongoing expenses before bringing a pet into your home.


If anyone in your household has allergies, it’s crucial to consider this when choosing a pet. Some breeds, such as hypoallergenic dogs like poodles, shih tzus, and bichon frises, produce fewer allergens and may be a better fit for allergy sufferers. However, it’s best to consult with an allergist before making any decisions.

Living space

Another factor to consider is your living space. Do you live in a house with a yard, or in an apartment? Some pets, such as large dogs, may require more space to roam and exercise. Additionally, some landlords have restrictions on certain breeds or types of pets, so it’s important to check before adopting.

Choosing the Right Pet for Your Family


Now that you’ve considered all the key aspects of adopting a pet, it’s time to choose the right one for your family. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Age and Temperament of Children

The age and temperament of your children should play a significant role in deciding which pet is suitable for your family. Toddlers and preschoolers require constant supervision and can be unpredictable, so it’s best to choose a pet that is gentle and patient. Small dogs, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, or hypoallergenic breeds like Maltese, can be great companions for young children. Cats can also be a good option, but make sure they have a laid-back and patient personality.

For older children, you can consider pets that may require more training or exercise, such as larger dogs or more active breeds like Labradors or Border Collies.


Different breeds have different personalities and characteristics, so it’s essential to do your research before deciding on a specific breed. For example, some breeds are known for being more energetic and playful, while others are more laid-back and calm. Consider your family’s lifestyle and needs when choosing a breed.

Age of the Pet

While puppies and kittens may seem appealing, they require a lot of time, energy, and training. An older pet may be a better fit for families with younger children who may not have the patience or ability to handle a high-maintenance pet. Older animals are often already trained, calmer, and may be less demanding than younger ones.

Adopting from a Shelter

Adopting a pet from a shelter is a great way to give an animal in need a loving home. Shelters often have a wide variety of breeds and ages to choose from, and their staff can help match you with the right pet for your family. Plus, adopting a pet from a shelter is usually more affordable than purchasing one from a breeder.

Preparing Your Children for a New Pet

Before bringing a new pet into your home, it’s important to prepare your children for the changes that will come with it. Here are some tips to help ease the transition:

Educate Them About Pet Care

Teach your children about the basic needs of the type of pet you will be adopting. This includes feeding, grooming, exercise, and potential health issues. It’s essential for children to understand that owning a pet is a big responsibility and requires commitment.

Visit Friends or Relatives with Pets

If your children have never had a pet before, it can be helpful to expose them to other people’s pets beforehand. This will give them an idea of what to expect and help them get comfortable around animals.

Involve Them in the Process

Take your children with you when choosing a pet so they can see which animal they connect with. This will also help them feel included and involved in the process.

Setting Up a Routine for Pet Care

Establishing a routine for your pet’s care is crucial for both their well-being and your family’s. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Feeding Schedule

Decide on a feeding schedule that works for your family and stick to it. Make sure your children understand the importance of following this schedule and not overfeeding the pet.

Exercise and Playtime

Just like humans, pets need regular exercise and playtime to stay healthy and happy. Involve your children in these activities, and make it a fun bonding experience for the whole family.


Depending on the type of pet you have chosen, grooming may be required. Teach your children about proper grooming techniques and get them involved in the process as much as possible.

Assign Tasks

To ensure the responsibility of pet ownership is shared, assign age-appropriate tasks to your children. This can include filling up water bowls, taking the pet for a walk, or helping with grooming.

Building a Strong Bond Between Children and Pet

A strong bond between children and their pet is essential for a successful adoption. Here are some ways you can encourage this relationship:

Supervise Interactions

When your children are interacting with the pet, make sure you are supervising to ensure they are gentle and respectful. This is especially important for younger children who may not understand how to handle animals properly.

Encourage Positive Reinforcement

Teach your children to use positive reinforcement techniques when training or interacting with the pet. This can include using treats, praise, and affection to reward good behavior.

Involve Children in Training

Involving your children in training the pet can help strengthen their bond and also teach them valuable skills. However, always make sure you are the primary trainer, as children may not have the patience or ability to train a pet on their own.

Handling Challenges and Conflicts

As with any new addition to the family, there may be some challenges or conflicts that arise. Here are some tips on how to handle them:

Set Boundaries

Make sure your children understand boundaries when it comes to the pet. This includes teaching them not to disturb the pet while they are sleeping or eating, and to respect the pet’s space.

Address Jealousy

It’s natural for children to feel jealous of the attention given to the new pet. Make sure you spend one-on-one time with your children to reassure them of their importance to you.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your child is struggling to adjust to the new pet, or if there are any behavioral issues with the pet, seek professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Conclusion and Final Tips

Adopting a pet with children is a big decision, but with careful consideration and preparation, it can be a rewarding experience for all. Remember to involve your children in the process, set up a routine, and encourage a strong bond between them and the pet. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the love and companionship your new furry friend will bring to your family.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read