It probably depends on the child and depends on the pet. My kids are 8, 6, and 3.5 years. We have two guinea pigs- they are the family pets. I do expect the kids to help out with the care of the pets, but I don't expect them to take care of them by themselves. I wouldn't want my well-being riding on an 8 year old remembering to feed me every day! The kids are really good at playing with them, patting them, giving snacks and refilling the water bottle, but I do the cage cleaning and am the responsible party in making sure they are getting good care because kids can get distracted. They are really involved with the pigs on a daily basis, but I don't think they're old enough to be totally responsible for them.
at 3:49 PM on Sep. 9, 2010