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How to Encourage Kids to Take Care of a Pet Dog

We all know the scenario: your kid begs for a puppy for Christmas, but then when the puppy comes the excitement wears off, and it’s you who’s having to walk, clean up after and feed the dog daily. However, just because it’s not your kid’s natural instinct to care for the pet dog, it doesn’t mean that you can’t help teach your child pet care, or encourage responsible, healthy caretaking habits. Here are some helpful ways to build responsibility for your kids and ensure that they’re the ones who actually take care of their pet dog.

how to encourage kids to take care of a pet dog

How to Encourage Kids to Take Care of a Pet Dog

Figure Out What Everyone Can Do, Then Assign Appropriate Tasks

There are some things that most kids can easily do for their dog, no matter how old they are. These are things like filling the water and food bowls, going on walks and playing with the dog. Make sure you pick responsibilities that you know your child is ready for, then assign those to him. That way, you can handle things that your child isn’t capable of yet, like driving your dog to the vet for regular medical treatments (whether that’s heartworm medication, flea and tick prevention, or heart disease medication like Vetmedin). You can also check out for other ways to care for your pet.

Start Early

As soon as you get your dog, make sure that your child is an integral part of the caretaking process. That means that your child should go on every walk with you and the dog, and be there when you refill food and water bowls, etc. If you incorporate your child in the caring process from the get-go, it will be easier to establish this as a normal habit and responsibility.

Make Rules and Repercussions If Those Rules Are Broken

You should make rules regarding pet care in your family. That means that your child should have certain designated responsibilities, and if they’re not fulfilled, there should be a negative consequence. For example, your child has to walk the dog twice a day, or he is not allowed to go out with his friends on the weekend. By creating negative consequences for not fulfilling responsibilities, you can teach your children that specific caretaking chores must get done each day.

Make Play a Part of the Process

Playing is an important step for your kid and your dog. It helps ensure that both expend necessary energy and stay healthy. Make one of your child’s caretaking responsibilities playing with the pup. This will ensure that caring for the dog doesn’t always feel like work, but that it’s also naturally fun. This will encourage your child to want to do the work, and ensure that responsibilities are fulfilled each day.

Ensure Everyone Participates

Make sure that every kid and parent participate in caring for the pet. That will ensure that your child understands that the dog is a member of the family and that every other person in the family has a role in making sure he is fed and looked after.

Having a pet dog is fun for the entire family, but it’s more fun for everyone if everybody steps in to help do some of the work. If you want to make sure that your kids help you with dog care, you can take some easy steps to help foster good habits in them. If you do, you’ll find that everyone at home is healthy and happy including your dog, your kids and you!

Lannie, a writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online. Listed below are some helpful resources referenced in the article that can provide some guidance for those looking for helpful information on pet supplies & medication:

5 ways to Encourage Kids to Take Care of a Pet Dog

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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