pet care

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Around 44{716a4ab685473790f3722cbe1206c48872e89f3f58f906124c78c25190a55370} of Americans own a dog, and 29{716a4ab685473790f3722cbe1206c48872e89f3f58f906124c78c25190a55370} own a cat and most see their four-pawed friends as ‘family’. The majority report that pets are good for their owners since Rex and Kitty can make our lives more satisfying and provide the companionship we sometimes crave when we are home alone. If you have just brought a new pup or kitten home and you have kids, it is important that everyone do their share to ensure the pet is happy and healthy. Follow these tips so kids know the work involved in taking care of their dog or cat.

Kids’ Calendars

You may already be used to the concept of using reward or points systems for kids, based on them completing and ticking off items contained in a list of chores or behavioral goals. Include pet care in this list. Your kids can start off with simple tasks such as cleaning and filling the water bowl, feeding Fido, or (for older kids) cleaning the litterbox around twice a week, or as often as is necessary. Rewards for completing pet tasks can include visiting an outdoor spot that they love with their dog. Take them to a beach, park, or forest area.

Playing Doctor

In addition to ensuring your pets have a bowl of fresh water and food every day, it is also key to deworm them and apply an anti-flea/tick solution. De-worming medication is usually given every three months, while an anti-pest treatment needs to be applied every three to eight weeks (the frequency depends on the brand and your veterinarian’s recommendations). Little kids can get excited about this necessity by playing veterinarian. Teach your child to apply the solution to the back of your pet’s neck or to place a flea and tick collar around their neck. The de-worming medication comes to an edible form these days so most pooches and kitties will probably gulp it down without too much of a fuss. Use an online calendar to remind you and your kids when it is time to administer the treatments again.

Little Hairdressers

Arguably the task that kids love most, is pet grooming. Smaller kids can do simple things like a brush or comb their dog or cat. Older kids can help you give your pet a bath, filling the bath with water and soap and helping you scrub in the right places and clean between the toes. Kids have great fun as your pooch or kitty splashes and shake water off their fur. Those who love hairdressing can take on the task of drying your pet’s fur and gently combing away any knots with a wide-toothed comb (always under your supervision). On cold days or when you don’t have time to give your pet a full bath, dry shampoo for pets will do the trick. Lift your dog’s fur and instruct your child to spray a little of the shampoo onto the skin. Rub gently or brush so the solution is spread throughout necessary areas. Nails are a duty you should undertake yourself since if you cut into the quick, the latter will bleed. After cutting, your child can help you file nails down to smooth perfection.

All tasks carried out by kids should be done under your direct supervision, to ensure both kids and pets stay safe. Kids will enjoy being responsible for specific tasks, including brushing, filing, and giving pets their de-worming and other medication. Reward kids for a job well done by giving them an experience, if possible in the company of their furry friend.

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Written by Miriam Slozberg

Miriam Slozberg

Miriam Slozberg is a freelance writer, author, astrologer, and blogger and has a warped sense of humor.