McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Archive

August 9, 2013

Questions parents should ask before getting kids a pet

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.

Of course, puppies and kittens are always crowd pleasers as well. Their high energy level and love for attention makes them the perfect child companion. But what about when little Bobby begs for that snake at the pet store?

“With animals like lizards and snakes, their care and feeding requirements can be a bit tricky as far as humidity and temperature,” Stickney said. “These animals also eat other animals for food, which may be upsetting to some children.”

When choosing a family pet, it is also important to take into consideration your children’s sensitivity to various allergens.

“One of the first things that you need to do is consult with your physician,” said Stickney. “If your child is allergic to pollen or some sort of grass that an animal could track into the house, an indoor animal such as a cat would be a non-issue.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.