National Kids and Pets Day

National Kids and Pets Day

National kids and pets day was created in 2005 by Colleen Paige, a mother, former EMT/Medic, and an expert in celebrities, families, and pet lifestyles.  Paige established this day in order to recognize the bond between children and animals and to help bring awareness to pets that are still waiting to find their forever homes.  This holiday was intended to educate people about the necessary safety that should occur between children and pets.

Is your family thinking about adopting a pet?  That’s great!  Pets make incredible companions to children and can teach them many lessons about responsibility, compassion, and friendship.  Before adopting, it is important to consider the many factors that go into bringing an animal home.


Finding The Right Pet For Your Family

  • Evaluate your current pet situation.
    1. Think about how many pets you currently have at home.  If you already have one or more pets, it is always a good idea to make sure that you have the time to care for another. Can you financially afford to bring home another animal? Pets can be expensive!
    2. Will your current pet get along with a pet of the same species? How about a different species?  Is there a safety concern?  Cats may prey on smaller animals like rabbits or mice. Dogs may be aggressive and territorial with other dogs.  Make sure you do a meet and greet with your current pet and a prospective new one!
  • How old are your children?
    1. Older kids can play a more active role in the care-taking of an animal than younger children, and they can be quite helpful when it comes to daily tasks such as feeding a pet and picking up toys.  Younger children can still help out, although more of the responsibility will most likely be on the adults.
    2. Some pets do not tolerate small children.  Older pets often do not like to be handled by young kids and are a lot less tolerant and patient of little kids pulling on them and chasing them around.  Consider the age of your children and the age of your potential new pet and how they will get along.
    3. If you have a younger child and need a less hands-on pet, consider a fish, a bird, or a hamster.  These pets primarily stay in a cage and do not require as much attention as a dog or cat.
  • What is the size of your home?
    1. This is an important factor when considering what kind of animal to adopt.  If you want a dog, it is a good idea to have an area for your dog to run around and use the bathroom.  The bigger your dog, the more room he or she will need.
    2. If you want to adopt a cat, you will need an area for a litter box.  A good rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra if you can swing it.  Consider where you can spread out multiple litter boxes in your home if you have multiple kitties.
  • Consider a pet’s lifespan.
    1. Can you commit to the number of years that a pet will typically live?  If you adopt a pet with the expectation that your kids will take care of it, make sure you are willing to pick up the responsibility if things don’t go as planned.
    2. If your kids grow up and leave the nest, can you take care of an animal for the remainder of its life?
  • Think about the time commitment a new pet will require.
    1. Puppies and kittens require a lot more attention and care than older dogs do.  Puppies need to be trained since they like to chew on things and explore.  Kittens aren’t as much work, but they may have occasional accidents and can scratch up furniture if they do not have scratching posts.
    2. If you want a pet that requires little time for care, again, consider a fish, bird, or small rodent.

Take the quiz What Kind of Pet is Right for Your Family? to find out which pet would be a good fit for your family.  Remember, no matter what the results of the quiz are, you should also consider the factors above to get a true idea about what animal will fit into your family the best!



5 Great Lessons Pets Teach Children

1. Responsibility– Animals require a great deal of care, so owning a pet is a big responsibility.  This is a great opportunity to allocate certain tasks to children to take on as their responsibility.  Depending on a child’s age, you can ask them to fill up a water bowl every day or clean up the dog’s waste in the yard.

2. Being gentle– It is important to teach children to be gentle with animals. Not every animal is going to be okay with its tail being pulled or playing rough.  Children should learn to approach animals with care and to be careful when around unfamiliar animals.

3. Personal space and respect– Many pets do not like to have someone directly in their face.  Young children often do not understand that you can’t always get too close to an animal.  Children can learn to respect their pet’s personal space and boundaries can be formed.  If a child doesn’t like their toy being taken from them, they can understand that their pet does not either.

4. Compassion and empathy– One of the most important lessons that pets teach children is compassion and empathy.  Children can start to recognize how an animal may be feeling, and learn to react appropriately in each situation.  For example, if a child’s dog is hungry, the child can fill up his food bowl.  If the dog is lonely, the child can give his or her dog a favorite toy and play with him in the backyard.

5. Friendship and love– Pets provide one of the greatest friendships that a person will ever know.  Animals give us unconditional love, and this is a great lesson for children to learn.  They can create an amazing bond. Learn to love their pet not only as a friend but also as a family member.


Pets can be amazing companions and teach children great life lessons.  Let us know about the bond between your children and pets in the comments!