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Pet Talk: Children and their pets

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Whether they want it to bark, purr, slither or squawk, there comes a time when a pet appears on nearly every child’s birthday wish list. For most parents, this decision can be a bit daunting. Is your child ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet? Will the new animal negatively affect his or her health?
Though your child may think your wary attitude is unnecessary, these are valid questions for every parent to ask themselves and their family before welcoming a new pet into their home.
“The first thing that you need to think of is if your children are old enough and responsible enough to handle a pet around the house,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, Clinical Associate Professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “You also need to be aware of the temperament of the new pet that you’re bringing in.”
Low maintenance animals, such as hamsters and fish, prove to be great starter pets for children. They require minimal amounts of time and care, introducing the child to the responsibilities of pet ownership without giving them more than they can manage.


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