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At what age are children responsible enough to have a pet?

by Ivana Katz (follow)
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Many children love pets and can learn much from looking after their furry friends. But there are risks and responsibilities involved when owning a pet.



child, pets, children and pets, parenting, motherhood


At what age is it appropriate to buy your child a pet that they can look after? What skills do children need to be taught to ensure they don't get injured by their pets?

If you have bought an animal for your child, what type of animal is it and how have you introduced it to your family life? Have you found any challenges when it comes to owning a pet?

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Another great question. At least in the middle of primary school. They need to be aware who'll pay the vet bills though. Probably ages 11 onwards. They need to be briefed on the responsibilities that come with such a privilege.
It isn't a question of how old your child is, but how mature your child is. You can have some very irresponsible eleven year olds, but at the same time conscientious seven year olds.

As was the case when I was born, many parents have pets beforehand, in which case a child will start learning how to look after an animal from a much earlier age. I was six when my parents bought me pets that were 'officially' mine. I had two guinea pigs, which I helped feed and look after, although my mum did do a majority of the work when it came to cleaning out.

I think if a child is mature enough, then as long as they are they are physically capable of looking after a pet, then it doesn't matter what age they are. If, however, you mean to give the child total responsibility, without the parent helping out much, then I would say ten or eleven.
A loving child can have a pet regardless of age. Sometimes children want pets just out of peer pressure and once the responsibility comes they shirk it away. A child who wants the pet out of love for animals would understand the pros and cons of having a pet and still take care of it.
A loving child can have a pet regardless of age. Sometimes children want pets just out of peer pressure and once the responsibility comes they shirk it away. A child who wants the pet out of love for animals would understand the pros and cons of having a pet and still take care of it.
I would say six or seven, before that they may have the best intentions but still not be able to look after a pet because they don't have the responsibility level yet.
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