Tips To Traveling With Pets

You’ve decided to take your pet along on vacation. It will be more fun, and you won’t have to worry about leaving a member of your family behind in an unfamiliar kennel. With some extra planning and forethought, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip with your pet.

Taking a Road Trip

If you’re driving with your pet, you’ll need to find a comfortable and safe way for your pet to travel. You can place your pet in a carrier and secure it in the car. Alternatively, you can purchase a seatbelt-like harness for your pet that will allow him to be out of the carrier but still safely restrained. It isn’t safe to allow your pet to roam freely in the car. He can be seriously hurt in the event of even a minor accident, and he is much more likely to escape and become lost when you make stops.

Don’t leave your pet alone in the car, especially in hot weather. The heat can quickly become life-threatening. If your pet becomes carsick easily, you may want to ask your veterinarian for motion-sickness medicine before the trip.

Carry some of your pet’s food along with you, and feed your pet only small amounts of food at a time. If your trip is short, you may want to have your pet wait and eat when you arrive to avoid carsickness. You should also carry some of your pet’s water along, or purchase bottled water. Local tap water may contain different minerals or sulphur, which might upset your pet’s stomach.

Flying with your pet

Many pet owners do not like to fly with their pets because it can be traumatic for them, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Unless your pet is very small, he will fly as cargo and not in the cabin with you. Check with your airline to determine what type of carrier is acceptable and what rules apply to flying with a pet. Also ask what safety precautions are in place, what conditions the pet will fly in, etc. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is well enough to fly or if there are any special precautions you should take.

International Travel

Taking your pet out of the country requires careful planning. Check the regulations for the country you are traveling to and verify that your pet has the required vaccinations. In some cases, you’ll need to have the vaccines administred weeks before your departure date.

Most countries will require a Rabies Vaccination Certificate and a Health Certificate. Your veterinarian can help you obtain both of these. The country you are traveling to may require that you complete paperwork gaining permission to bring your pet into the country. Also, some countries have quarantine regulations that may require your pet to remain in a kennel for up to several months.

Pet Friendly Hotels

A quick search on the Internet can help you find hotels that are receptive to pets. Many travel sites also allow you to specify only pet-frienly accommodations. Check with the hotel to find their specific rules regarding staying with a pet.

If your pet requires walks, ask for a room that opens on the outside. This will be more convenient for those late night trips outdoors.

Many alternative lodging sites, such as resorts, cabins and bed and breakfasts are also open to receiving pets. Check ahead of time for availability where you’re traveling. Since many of these vacation spots offer outdoor activities, they can be great options for pet owners.

What Will your Pet do All day?

You know how you’ll travel, and you’ve found a hotel that will welcome your pet, so now what? What will your pet do all day when you’re out having fun?

An outdoor vacation is an ideal choice if you’re traveling with pets. Consider renting an RV and taking a camping vacation. Many RV rental agencies allow pets with an extra deposit. A trip to the beach is another good choice for pet owners. However, keep in mind that sand can be irritating to some pets, especially dogs with deep skin folds. Some animals are bothered by long sun exposure as well.

If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, keep plenty of cold water on hand and watch your pet for signs of heat exhaustion.

Some restaurants now provide outdoor seating that is also pet friendly. Check ahead of time if any are available near where you are staying. If you’d like to spend mealtime with your pet and no pet-friendly restaurants are close by, you might consider takeout or even picnicing outdoors.

What if you’re taking a more traditional vacation? Many tourist attractions will not welcome your pet, and it isn’t a good idea to leave your pet alone in a strange hotel room all day. You may be able to place your pet in his carrier for shorter excursions, but for all day trips, consider researching pet daycare centers or kennels available in the area. You can leave your pet for a few hours in a safe environment but still enjoy his company on your trip.

What to Take Along

Bring your pet’s food along or plan to buy it as needed. This is not a good time to change your pet’s diet, and you should certainly avoid giving your pet any table scraps. Traveling can be stressful regardless of how careful you are, and you don’t need the added complication of stomach upset for your pet.

Don’t give your dog the local water, especially if you’re traveling internationally. It’s safer to give your pet only bottled water to avoid possible stomach upset.

Bring along any medicines your pet takes, including vitamins, flea medicines, heart worm prescriptions, etc. You should also bring some basic first-aid supplies in case of injury. Ask your veterinarian what should be included in your pet’s first aid kit. These might include medicines for stomach upset and a mild tranquilizer in case your pet becomes extremely agitated. You can purchase pre-stocked pet first aid kits at many pet supply stores.

To make your pet more comfortable, bring along a few items from home. Bring some of your pet’s bedding and a few of his favorite toys. Bring only treats your pet has eaten in the past with no stomach upset. Again, this isn’t the time to try any new foods. The carrier you bring should be large enough for your pet to remain comfortably inside for a few hours. He should be able to stand, lie down and turn around easily within it. Also, be sure your pet has fresh water available within the carrier.

A Pre-Trip Checklist

Make an appointment with your veterinarian. Have your pet examined and any vaccinations done that are needed. Ask if your pet is healthy enough to travel, and ask for advice concerning any of your pet’s health conditions. Remember that if you are traveling outside the country, you may need to plan weeks in advance.

Make sure your pet has current identification attached to his collar, and that it fits well and isn’t likely to slip off. You might want to consider having an identification chip implanted before your trip, but you’ll need to discuss with your veterinarian how soon your pet can travel after the procedure.

Gather phone numbers for veterinarians, pet emergency care facilities, kennels, etc. before you leave for each place where you’ll be staying. If an accident or illness does occur, you’ll be grateful that you don’t have to take the time to find someone to care for your pet.

Make a packing list for your pet based on his needs and what your veterinarian recommends. Double-check it as you pack his things. Take your veterinarian’s phone number along with you in case you need to call and ask a last minute question or have your pet’s records sent to another clinic.

Take time to get your pet used to his carrier, especially if it’s new. If you’re driving, take your pet in the car for practice trips before the big day so it won’t be so traumatic. Another benefit to this approach is that you’ll learn if your pet become motion sick easily.

If you’re traveling with your cat, bring a litterbox and litter along with you. It’s easier to purchase cheap plastic litterboxes and throw them away rather than try to clean and transport them. If traveling with a dog, be sure to bring baggies to clean up after your pet’s walks.

Embarrassing and Alarming Moments

Pets get stressed when traveling, so accidents can and will happen. Bring some disposable wipes and plastic baggies to clean up after your pet. Another good idea is bringing a small bottle of enzyme based cleaner. If your pet selects the hotel carpet as the perfect spot for his accident, this can remove the odor and stain before it has a change to set.

Never open your pet’s carrier unless you’re in an enclosed room. Pets can move much more quickly than you can, and nothing will ruin your vacation faster than losing your traveling companion.

Traveling with your pet can be challenging, but with some planning ahead, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. Trying a short weekend trip before a longer vacation can also help your pet acclimate to travel, and you will learn how well your pet travels.

Things You Should Know About Moving With Pets

Americans and their loved pets move on average every seven years. If you have a pet or pets, remember that they also experience stress, particularly from moving. In many cases, moving can be even more stressful on pets, as the home is their habitat. Pets can also become very frightened when faced with unfamiliar situations. Careful organization and planning can make the moving process easier and less stressful for both you and your pet. Our guide offers tips and advice to help you and your pet through this process.

Pet travel warning

o Never move a sick pet – the move may aggravate his symptoms and be dangerous to his health.

o The Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to transport puppies and kittens less than eight weeks old by air.

o Pets cannot be moved on a moving van with your household belongings.

o Pets are generally not allowed on trains or buses, unless they’re guide-dogs accompanying blind or otherwise impaired persons.

o Book a direct flight if you are traveling by plane. If your pet is traveling in freight he may be sitting outside with the freight for a long period of time between flights and as the freight is being moved from plane to plane. If the weather is either too hot or too cold your pet will suffer. An insulated crate will certainly help this situation if it cannot be avoided.

Air Transport

You may transport your pet by air either accompanying you or as air freight. Some airlines provide counter-to-counter service so your pet will be carried on and off the plane by an airline employee. Remember, not all airlines accept pets for transportation, so be sure to inquire when you are making your travel arrangements. Also be sure to check about charges and insurance charges for transporting your pet.

It is important that you book your air travel as early as possible. Airlines that accept pets for transportation will have specific regulations and guidelines regardless of whether the pets are accompanied or unaccompanied. For example, you may be required to be at the airport several hours in advance of the flight to check your pet in and your pet may need a special crate. The airline may be able to provide to you a crate for the trip, or you may have to purchase one from the airline.

The airline will have guidelines on the crate types allowed and your local pet supply company will be able to sell you the required crate. You pet should be able to stand and turn around with ease and there should be adequate ventilation. The bottom of the crate should be padded with newspaper or other absorbent material. Add a favorite toy on move day to give a sense of security. Try to get your pet accustomed to the crate at home before the big day.

On move day, feed and water your pet at least 5 hrs before the flight departure time and water again at least 2 hours before departure. Remember to administer any medication or veterinarian-recommended tranquilizers before departure. When you arrive at the airport, exercise your pet and check that you have provided all the necessary information to airline staff regarding your name, correct new address and alternate contact name in case of emergency.

Some airlines allow passengers to bring pets into the cabin with them, provided they fall within a specific size range and stay in a carrier for the duration of the flight.

By road – In a motor vehicle

Unless you are planning a very short road trip, do not feed or water your pet for a couple of hours before leaving. You may decide to put your pet in a crate during the road trip, but be sure he is able to stand and turn around with ease and that there is adequate ventilation. The bottom of the crate should be padded with newspaper, towels or other absorbent and cushioning material. Adding a favorite toy will help give a sense of security. Exercise your pet regularly during the road trip, but always use a leash because your furry friend can easily get lost or hit by a car if he wanders off.

Do not let your pet hang his head out the window while the car is moving. While many dogs love to do this, it can cause sore eyes, ears or throat. And, never let the windows down so far that your pet can jump out.

Warning

Never leave a pet in a hot car during the summer or in a cold car in the winter. Temperatures inside a car with closed windows escalate dramatically when it’s parked in the sun. Even if it’s pleasant outside, it takes only a few moments to reach over 100 degrees inside the car – which can be fatal for small occupants. If you absolutely have to leave your pet briefly, and the day is hot, park in the shade, lock the car doors and crack the windows open several inches to provide cross-ventilation. Check on him regularly. If the day is very hot, it is best not to leave your pet in the car at all.

Pet’s travel bag

Don’t forget to pack a travel bag for your pet! Following is a list of items you may wish to include;

o Food and can opener

o Food and water dishes

o Any medication your pets needs

o Treats

o Favorite toys

o Leash

o Grooming brush

o Bags to clean up after your pet

o Newspapers

o Cleaner and paper towel

Whatever mode of transport you use for your pet, make sure you are in compliance with state and local regulations for animals in your destination city, along with current copies of.

o ID tags

o Health records

Pets ID tags

The state where you are moving may have different laws regarding animals and their entry across state lines. It is important that you understand the requirements so that you can comply with them, so contact the state veterinarian for specific information. It is not uncommon for pets to need an entry permit in order to enter a new state. As well, in many towns and cities the number of pets per household may be limited. You will be required to obtain a local license for your pet within a certain deadline, such as 30 days, so find out what it is. You don’t want to pay a fine for not keeping your pet’s license current!

Health

You may need to obtain a health certificate for your pet from a licensed veterinarian and this can be used in the event it is required for entry to your new home state. The Department of Agriculture may request to see the health cert at your destination airport or could even be patrolling the highways if you are driving. A health cert is generally valid for 10 days, so be sure to have the inspection scheduled just before you move. The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination of your pet and check that he is current with all inoculations.

Dogs

Whether traveling by air or by car, moving can be even more stressful for a dog than for a human, although some dogs adapt better than others. Hold off on packing your dog’s bedding and toys until the last moment so that he can be comforted by the presence of familiar things. If you’re traveling a long way, avoid feeding your dog for 12 hours before the journey in order to prevent travel sickness. If you know your dog suffers from travel sickness, ask your veterinary surgeon about medication.

If you plan on flying to your new home, do your best to book a direct flight. If your dog has to be transported by freight and the flight is not direct he may have to sit out in the hot or cold weather as the freight is boarded to the new flight. Check with the airlines for details. If your dog is small enough, he may be able to travel in the passenger cabin with you. He will need a special pet carrier, which you can purchase at your local pet store. Ask the airline what crate specifications they require.

If traveling by car, have your dog’s nails cut to avoid damage to the upholstery. Carry an adequate supply of plastic bags and use these to clean up after your pet at any rest stops you use. Never let your dog hang his head out the window of a car when it’ s moving. Even though most dogs love to do this, it can cause sore eyes, ears or throat.

Never leave your pet alone in a car, especially in hot weather. The temperature inside the car can quickly rise to an unbearable level, even on what feels like a pleasant afternoon.

Once you arrive at your destination, be sure to get your dog back in to his routine of eating and exercise. If you have moved to an apartment building and your pet dog was used to having a yard to play in, you’ll need to be extra considerate. Walk your dog more frequently, at least until he gets used to his new living situation. Be patient and make allowances for indoor “accidents.” Don’t punish your pooch, as this may make the problem worse. Clean the mess to remove the soil and smell. Once your dog has settled in, the accidents should stop. Use positive reinforcement to teach him where he needs to go. Always praise him when he relieves himself in the correct place.

One way to help your dog settle in more quickly is to create a comfortable sleeping area for him. If your new home has a yard, check the fencing to make sure that it is secure, of sufficient height and ‘hole-free’ before letting your dog run loose. If your dog is able to escape, exercise him on a lead until you are able to make the necessary improvements.

Cats

It’s commonly accepted that cats get very attached to places and typically hate to move. Cats get particularly comfortable with routine, and don’t like their environment to change. This can make moving especially difficult for humans and their cats.

In the days leading up to your move, try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. It is best to crate your cat during the moving process, and it may be helpful to ask a friend or family member to keep an eye him.

If you are traveling by air, you may need to purchase an airline-approved carrier for you cat. You airline should be able to provide you with all the details. If you are traveling by car you may also want to use a crate or carrier so your cat cannot roam about the car, or escape through an open window or door.

Once you are in your new location, be careful to keep your cat indoors until he becomes comfortable in his new surroundings. Do not allow your cat outdoors, because he may try to return to you old home … and that’s obviously dangerous for him, especially if you’ve moved far away. Supervised outings are advised until your pet gets used to your new home. You can use a long leash on your cat and connect it to a stake in the ground, allowing your pet to wander the length of the leash for the first few days. Let your cat explore all the rooms of the house and be sure to check that outside doors and windows are closed before you begin.

Birds and Small Pets

Of all pets, birds are probably the most sensitive to changes in temperature and environment. Your pet bird can be moved in the cage in which it lives. When you are moving with your pet bird, be sure to use a cover for the cage. This can keep the bird calm and protect it from drafts. Place the cage in a shallow box to collect any gravel, feathers or droppings that may spill during transit. Remove any containers of food and water before moving the cage to avoid spills en route. Do feed and water your bird at its regular times, as birds, like all small animals, can become dehydrated very quickly in warm weather.

Some states require a health cert for birds entering the state. The USDA may inspect this cert either at the airport or during routine roadway inspections. Have your pet bird inspected by your veterinarian prior to traveling. Some health certificates are valid for a brief period of time. Ten 10 days is a common window for a health certificate.

Horses

There are several ways to transport horses. Your horse can be transported by air freight, by towing a trailer or by hiring a specialized horse transporting company. The horse transport company can use either air or road to transport horses.

By Air

Many airlines accept horses as air freight. In general, they will only transport horses on direct flights. You will be required to have a stall constructed to the airline’s specifications, and you will need to ensure your horse has the necessary health checks completed prior to moving to your new home state. Remember that requirements vary by state, and airlines will request a health certificate. The USDA may also be at the destination airport conducting inspections and may request to see the health certificate.

By Road

Depending on the distance you need to travel, towing your horse in a trailer behind your car or truck may be an option. If you do not own a trailer, you may consider renting one, but you’ll want to be sure you’re experienced enough to safely load and trailer your horse. You can also pack tack and feed in the trailer.

If your trip requires overnight stays you will need to book stables en route for your horse. These stables will require a health certificates appropriate to horses only, and if they do not you probably don’t want to board your horse there. Your veterinarian should be aware of the applicable laws of the different states and will be able to provide you with the necessary health certificates. (Contact information regarding states entry requirements is at the end of this guide.)

If you are unable to find a stable or lodgings for your horse in close proximity to your hotel, inquire whether the hotel will allow you to keep the trailer in the parking lot overnight. In inclement weather this is not advisable. Feed and water your horse per the normal routine and clean out the stall when you have an overnight stop.

Reptiles

Most states have strict government regulations regarding the entry of reptiles. See the states regulatory contact list at the end of this guide to find out what you need to do before moving your reptile from state to state.

As a general rule, the carrier that a reptile is transported in needs to be kept moist. Place the reptile in a cloth bag and fasten the top of the bag, making sure to leave the reptile enough room to move about, then place the bag in the shipping container. Use foam peanuts for cushioning and place damp paper or cloth in the shipper to keep the environment moist. Make sure there are air holes in the shipper for ventilation. If you are traveling overnight with your reptile you may need to place him in the tub of your hotel room at night for a nice long soak. Check if the hotel allows pets first.

Do not ship reptiles in excessively hot or cold weather, as their shipping container may be left outside for periods of time, leading to stress and possibly death.

Snakes must be handled with extra care, especially if they are venomous. Most airlines require double crating for snakes, which means putting the snake in one crate and then placing this crate in another, larger crate. Adequate ventilation is a must. The airline may provide you with stickers to put on all sides of the crate and you will need to write the type of snake on this label. You should also write on the sticker whether the snake is venomous or not.

**Warning

Remember to keep the surroundings of all reptiles moist, but not wet. Placing a damp cloth inside the container is one of the best ways to keep your reptile’s environment appropriately moist during transit.

Fish

Fish are notoriously difficult to move safely from one location to another, but it can be done effectively and efficiently with some planning. It is advisable to sell or give away as many fish as you can before you move to help ease the burden. However if this is not an option, this guide will help you understand what you need to do.

Depending on the size of your aquarium, and the number and type of fish you have, it may be easier to separate them into a several smaller tanks. If the aquarium is 5 gallons or less it may be just as easy to move the entire aquarium. Place some cellophane over the top of the aquarium and remove all heaters and aerators. Place the container in a cooler box or Styrofoam container to regulate the temperature and keep it constant for up to 48 hours. Be sure to open the cellophane every four to five hours to change and refresh the air. This option may be the best for tropical fish, which don’t do well in smaller containers with overcrowding or sudden changes in water and temperature.

Never leave the container in the car overnight, as the temperature changes may be too drastic for the fish. If you plan to be traveling to your destination for a couple of days with your fish it is advisable to purchase a portable aerator to keep the water well oxygenated. Always pack your aquarium last in the moving truck so that you can unload it quickly at your destination.

If you separate your fish into smaller containers or fish bags, you should try to use the aquarium water in order to keep the environment as constant as possible. In the event you do not have enough water for all the smaller containers, add fresh or saltwater appropriate to the type of fish. It is advisable to allow each container of water to settle for a few hours after filling. If you have only a small number of fish and are moving a short driving distance, you can move the fish to their new location by using plastic bags half-filled with water and half-filled with air. As a general guideline, each fish should have at least 1-2 gallons of water. To maintain the temperature, place the bags in an insulated container or Styrofoam container.

Most fish can go without food for a couple of days without any problems, but it is important to add healing agents to the water, as the fish may become bruised en route. This is not uncommon and you can purchase healing agents at your local pet supply store.

When you arrive at your destination set up the aquarium as quickly as possible. You may need to treat the water to neutralize any chemicals; your local pet store can advise you of any treatments the local water may need.

Turn the aerator on for a while, and then add slowly and gently add the fish to the tank one at a time. Wait until the water settles, and feed them as usual.

New Community

PLEASE, PLEASE be responsible when you move and check beforehand with your new community to find out if pets are allowed. Some apartment and condominium complexes may not allow pets, and you certainly don’t want to find that out on moving day.

Some of the most common reasons that people leave their pets with shelters are “we are moving “and “my landlord doesn’t allow pets.” Remember, pets do not know why their owners are leaving them behind, so do your homework beforehand to save all that heartbreak. Consider your options carefully, as pets should be considered a lifetime commitment. If you are absolutely unable to take your pet with you, you owe it to this creature to find him a good home.

State and local regulations

You need to make sure that your pet has some sort of easily read ID attached to its body. For dogs and cats this can be a collar, while a tag around the leg is appropriate for birds. The ID tag should have your pet’s name, destination address, your name and telephone number. It is also a good idea to have an alternate’s name and number on the tags in the event that somebody finds your lost pet and is unable to get in touch with you. You should also have rabies tags for your pet; depending on the state where you live this will most likely be a requirement. For air travel, your pet may be required to wear special travel tags, which the airline will provide.

Tips To Get Discount For Pet Supplies

I love my pet, but I hate the high cost of pet supplies.

Can you relate to the constant drain on your wallet? Would you like to reduce the cost of your pet supplies?

If you too love your pet or pets and would like to benefit from some ways I save money on pet supplies then take just a few minutes and let me share some cost saving ideas that can really lighten the financial drain for those pets that we consider a integral part of our family.

One of the problems with the cost of pet supplies has become the increasing cost these past few years. It can add up fast. In my house we actually have a line item in our monthly budget because we actually have 3 pets (2 dogs and a cat). In this article I hope to help everyone who loves pets but would like to save money on pet supplies.

Most of us are genuine pet lovers. We love to keep animals as pets for our enjoyment and companionship. Over time, these pets become a regular part of the family. Our pets deserve the very best care just as anyone in the family would. Because of our love and commitment to care for our pets, We’re constantly looking for little nick knacks we can buy while shopping..

The pet supply and pet product industry has grown quite a bit over the past decade. Thus a large number of new pet stores have opened up all through out the country. There are many pet products and pet supplies outlets available in the market today including where you live or at least over the Internet. As a Pet lover, you can buy these products from discount pet stores or order online from the comfort of your home of office.

The goal is sorting through these new shopping options in search for the true values, the genuine best and Lowest discounted prices available. In terms of pet supply inventory, this too has increased dramatically over the past decade. Today there are virtually endless products and pet food options available. Most of the discount pet supply stores have a large assortment of these different products that offers a variety of sizes. In addition they carry a growing selection of pet supplies and pet gifts.

There are a wide variety of online and local discount pet stores for you to choose from. Both online and traditional discount pet supply stores offer a growing selection of items for the pets that you love. The online pet discount stores carries a wider range of product for your pet because their not limited to physical shelf space. These online discount pet stores are a great resource for checking out a discount pet supplies and price comparisons without the need to actually visit stores in your area. Online stores are easy to use as they are easier and more convenient to order from. When purchasing anything online including pet supplies or pet foods you can save money by not having to pay sales taxes in most cases. In addition, you can have many online pet supplies stores offer free shipping to first time buyers or in many cases for a specific period of time of if your order exceeds a certain dollar amount.

Most of the pet supply discount pet stores are pet friendly. They are designed to provide a nice comfortable place for the pet owner and your pet while your buying pet supplies. Some of these discount stores offer many additional benefits and services in addition to the normal services you’ve come to expect. Some of these extra services include pet grooming services, pet photography and veterinary services, Community services such as obedience classes, pet adoption clinics and seminars on pet care are also offered.

Well I hope this article has helped you and I hope it has shed some light on the challenge of saving money on your pets supplies regardless whether you use a local regular pet supply store or an online store. This may take a little research and price comparison on your part but the savings will be well worth it.

How To Choose Pets For Kids

Here are 10 Essential Reality Checks for YOU to consider when ‘others’ are considering the addition of a new pet to your family or household.

So you want a pet or at least your kids want a pet, well there is nothing unnatural about that, the whole idea will sound great…but wait a minute, stop and think…. there are some great positives about this idea….there are also some essential reality checks that need thinking about….a quick read through my checklists below will help you make a more realistic decision.
Remember the old saying “A pet is not just for Christmas”. Someone will have to clear the ‘pooh’ up at the end of it …. all.

Essential Reality Check No. 1 –
The Type of Pet

The type of pets for kids you can take into your household will depend on a whole host of things such as follows:

The ages of your kids – a two year old child will probably not be able to handle a pet gently and certainly won’t be able to care for the pet…..

How much will the pet costs be – not just to buy – but to care for on a daily basis?

What size of pet does your child want? – What space will be needed? A hamster does not take up much space but guinea pigs, ferrets and rats need much larger cages.

How much time do your kids and you as a family have to give to the pet?

Will your family be safe with the pet? Will the pet be safe with your family?

If you have a larger pet such as a dog, cat, or goat what effects will it have on your family, friends and neighbours?

How will your pet be cared for during your holidays.

Will your family be able to cope with the eventual death of a pet?

Some pets will sleep most of the day and be awake at night. Hamsters can be very noisy at night!

If your child wants a dog you will need to look into the breed, size and exercise needs of the dog.

Do you already have another pet, what effect will it have on that pet. For instance will your dog be OK with a cat or rabbit or bird?

Essential Reality Check No. 2 –
Ages of your Kids

You will need to decide on a pet that is suitable for the age of your kids.

For instance in most cases it would not be wise to buy a hamster for a two year old child who is still adapting to the world around them and may not know or be able to handle the hamster gently.

Do you want to give your kids some responsibility in caring for an animal. Some kids are very responsible and will be able to manage this. Other kids, well the sight of a baby animal is just too appealing, after all who can resist a cute puppy or kitten or baby hamster?

At first you may need to help your kids, as caring for a pet is a very responsible job. As a parent or carer you will always need to oversee a pet’s care.

As the parent or carer you will need to decide if your child is old enough to handle and care for a pet. How often have parents heard the cry “oh but we promise we’ll take it for walks everyday”
Or “we’ll clean it out mum, we promise”. How will you feel in a years time when you find yourself caring for the pets because the kids are busy with friends or away on a school trip or inundated with homework or just plain bored with the poor thing.

Essential Reality Check No. 3 –
True Costs of Pets for Kids

Some pets are very cheap to buy for instance hamsters, guinea pigs, goldfish. gerbils, fancy rats, fancy mice and rabbits and even ferrets.

You will still need to consider:
The cage set up (this can be very expensive when looking at the cage sizes that most pets need) in fact they need the largest cage you can manage

Food costs per week
Bedding
Vets bills if your pets become ill.
e.g. Ferrets need a yearly injection against canine distemper.
Holiday care – you will need to pay for this of course if you cannot rely on friends and family.

Bigger pets for kids such as goats, and dogs and pedigree cats are far more expensive to buy initially, some costing hundreds of pounds.
You will need to consider:
Bedding and a cage (if buying one for your dog or cat)
Leads and collars for dogs.
Food bills
Vets bills (dogs should have yearly check ups with a vets)
Toys
Holiday care (kennels can be very expensive)
Flea treatment
Ongoing veterinary costs if your pets becomes chronically ill.

Essential Reality Check No. 4 –
The Space Required

Even small pets for kids such as guinea pigs, fancy rats and ferrets need a lot of cage space for a happy life. They will need the biggest cages you can find space for. These pets also need space to exercise out of the cage.

Cats take up very little space, as do small breeds of dogs.
Dogs will need a decent sized garden as well as walks to keep them well exercised.

Essential Reality Check No. 5 –
Time for your Pets

Do you and the family have time for a pet.

For smaller pets you will need to have them out of the cage and being handled daily for at least 2 hours a day.

Do you have time to clean out your pet at least once or twice a week, or even daily?

Some pets will certainly need the toilet corner of their cage cleaned more often to avoid a foul smelling cage and pet.

Water bottles and food bowls will need cleaning and refilling every day.

Will you be able to walk your dog at least once a day? – dependent on the breed some need more!

Are you willing to look after your pets for kids for the many years some can live?
(From 18 months to 2 years for a mouse up to 15 years for a dog)

If you are out at work all day and the kids are at school all day your pets will need and will demand attention when you return home

Essential Reality Check No. 6 –
Your Pet and Family Safety

You will always need to ensure your kids safety when they are spending time with any pets.
Even little pets can bite and leave a wound.

Dogs should not be left unattended with your kids as they are unpredictable. Even a faithful dog will bite and even attack a child if they are in pain or afraid. It happens rarely – but it does happen.

You will also need to ensure your pets safety:Is your child able to handle a pet safely without hurting it.

Is your pet safe with any other pets in the home? – if you have young children and a dog …. you will need to make sure the dog cannot escape because a door is accidentally left open.

If you have a dog you need to ensure visitors safety as you can be sued if your dog bites someone on your property (or even off your property)

Make sure that when pets for kids are having free time out of cages that:
Other pets cannot hurt them
They cannot chew electrical leads
They cannot fall into toilets or baths of water.
They cannot escape through gaps in walls or floors
They cannot get outside without supervision

Essential Reality Check No. 7 –
Effects on Family and Neighbours

The whole family needs to be in agreement if you are getting pets. Pets can be noisy and messy having an effect on family living.

What effect will a pet such as a dog have on Granny who suffers with an allergy – will that mean she cannot come to visit anymore?

If you get a dog will it bark and howl when you leave them for any length of time and will this annoy your neighbours.
Will the dog bark when your neighbours are in their own garden.
How will your neighbours take to having your pet cat mess in their garden?

You will need to keep your yard free of dog mess to ensure it does not smell -particularly in summer months.

Essential Reality Check No. 8 –

Holidays and Care for Pets for kids

If you have pets for kids what will happen to them during your holiday times.

Do you have family or friends who can care for your pets while you are away.

If not you will have to pay for your pets care.

This will be expensive for dogs, cats and larger animals.

Even for little pets, holiday care can be expensive.

Essential Reality Check No. 9 –
Loss of a Pet and Grief

Some children are really sensitive and will be distraught when their beloved pet eventually passes away, or is lost in some way.

This is especially distressing if the pet has died as a result of an accident or illness.

How will you manage this?

The kids will need to grieve, grieving is a healthy part of a loss reaction. We can suffer losses every day in a small way such as not getting something we want, this causes a loss reaction and part of the healing for this is grief. If your child or other family member struggles with the grieving then look at the following and see if it applies. The grieving process has seven stepping stones through which people move. Your family member may not go through them in order or spend long on any one.

The stepping stones are:
Shock, Denial, Guilt, Anger, Depression Bargaining, Acceptance
Your child may want another pet this is called bargaining and is one of the stepping stones through the grief process.
If your child cannot have another pet, break down the hidden losses that the death of their pet has caused.
Could there be a loss of your child’s self worth or self esteem.
Have they lost their only companion.
Has your child lost the only one who listened to them.
By chatting try to find out how your child is feeling and help them to work out their losses and then work through to acceptance by doing some healthy bargaining.
Would your child be able to regain their sense of worth or self esteem another way? Perhaps helping out with a friends pet for instance.

For some children it may be helpful to have a burial service, so they can say goodbye properly.

(My son kept some hair from his beloved dog)

Our kids have managed the deaths of their pets really well and have gone on to have other pets, for other kids though it has more of an effect so you will need to decide when or if to replace your child’s pet.

Essential Reality Check No. 10 –
Pets for Kids are GREAT!

For the most part pets for kids are good fun. They are often good company for your kids especially if the kids are lonely.

Our autistic daughter has changed a lot since we got her guinea pigs to look after. She has gained some imaginative play, we think this is because she talks to her guinea pigs.
We do have to oversee her with them though.

Kids can learn a lot from caring for pets for kids and by having pets even when they are lost naturally.

Dogs can encourage the family out to get exercise as they walk the dog.

All our kids love their pets.