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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

So your child wants a pet. Before committing to adopting a cat, dog or even something as small as a hamster, there are several things to consider.

First and foremost, you need to decide if you and your family have the time to commit to a pet. Any pet takes a lot of work and is a big responsibility. It is important to sit down as a family to discuss this commitment before you even talk about what kind of pet you want. Just like humans, pets have to be fed on a regular basis, let outside or you have to take the time to clean a litter box if it is a cat that you decide to bring home. Cages have to be cleaned and fresh water has to always be available. For dogs, you also have to make a commitment to train them, both in discipline and to use the bathroom outside. Some animals also need exercise and stimulation, which will also take time away from other activities.

Animals are not free. They cost money just like a human child. Food, toys and veterinary visits will be added to your monthly budget, so you need to take a hard look at if you can handle the additional costs.

Pets have medical needs to, so if you are getting an animal like a dog or a cat, it is crucial to find a veterinarian you trust, can afford and is convenient. A simple way to start is to ask family and friends. Get their opinions on veterinarians they might use or know. Look online to see what veterinarians are in your area, and then make a few phone calls. Interview a couple of veterinarians before you make your decision, but concentrate on how they relate to the animals, not to humans. After all, this will be your animal’s doctor. A veterinarian like Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic can even offer suggestions as to what kind or breed of animal would fit best into your family, and plenty of other veterinarian’s in Toronto can suit your needs.

Adjusting to the New Family Member
It is possible that Fido or Whiskers might not adjust immediately. They might not be your child’s best friend right off because they are trying to figure out their new environment. Dogs will likely whimper for a few days and cats might be scared, afraid to come out into the open. You and your family have to continue to be patient during this time, providing a comfortable bed and showing to your animal that you can be trusted.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents thinking about pets.