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At what age do you think a child is old enough to take care of a pet?


Asked by SweetLuci at 7:25 PM on Nov. 14, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (7)
  • Well this was my experience....when my son turned 8 my mother thought it would be cute to buy him a hampster, he loved it but I took care of it and it eventually died of what i hope was natural causes. we also have two dogs in the house he will let them out when asked and back in again when reminded but if left up to him to take care of them independantly they would never eat or go outside. so basically I guess from my experience I think children in the 5-8 age range can't understand the dynamic of taking care of a pet so if you decide to get one you'll probebly be doing most of the work yourself.

    Answer by Finkette at 7:35 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • It's not about age. It's about responsibility. If they show they can handle tasks like chores, obeying rules, etc, then they might be ready. Age has no preference on anything really, because every child is different.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 7:40 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • I agree with JazzlikeMraz, it is more about responsibility level than age. You also have to consider what type of pet it is. My son fed and watered our cat but I took care of the litter box. He has a dog at his dad's house and is responsible for feeding, watering and letting him out to potty. He is 5 and while a gentle reminder was sometimes neccessary for the most part he took care of them on his own.

    Answer by kmath at 8:34 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • Totally on their own I'd say maybe 10 Years old. Dh bough dd a ferret last year. She was 4 at the time. At that age she promised to do everything. I knew she wouldn't, she couldn't understand how much work was involved. Dh took her word and gets pissed off everyday when he has to do something for it. Dd is now 5 yrs old and feeds and gives the ferret food and water everyday. She doesn't clean out the poop pan, change bedding, take the cage apart and clean. IMO it's to much for her age. She helps dad do it but can't do it alone. Oh yea and baths. Maybe by 10 she can do it all.
    Having a pet is a lot of responsibility which they don't understand yet.

    Answer by Jessica45 at 12:20 AM on Nov. 15, 2010

  • IDK, it depends on the pet. We're doing pretty good with fish, but they're very low maintenance.

    Answer by Pnukey at 8:26 AM on Nov. 15, 2010

  • Teenage. Maybe. It really depends on the child, but most children I know are not responsible enough. My son does take a good bit of responsibility for our dog as far as feeding, letting him out to potty, etc, but as far as being able to do it ALL, he is not ready.

    Answer by KTMOM at 2:28 PM on Nov. 15, 2010

  • My daughter will be 4 at the end of December and although she could not take care of an animal all by herself, she loves to feed our birds every day and our dog as well. She also helps with the water dishes and the cats litter boxes. Again, I supervise everything that she does and a lot of times I have to clean up after she is done but it is helping her to learn.

    Answer by Peajewel at 7:54 PM on Nov. 15, 2010