Involve the kids in feeding, watering, cage cleaning, dog walking, changing the litter box, and brushing the pet’s teeth and veterinary visits when they are young and incorporate these chores into their routine as they grow. It’s best that children know they will have these responsibilities before the pet comes into the house. If you make pet care a part of the family routine, children will learn how to be responsible pet owners and have the inner resources that come from shouldering the work of pet ownership along with the joy of pet ownership.
Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 graduate of Tufts University’s Cummins School of Veterinary Medicine and the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem. Email your pet questions to email@example.com. Please title your email “Vet Connection.”