Puppy Care for Kids
Puppies and Kids
There is just something really special about puppies and kids. A puppy can teach a child responsibility, companionship, empathy and care. A dog can be a child's very best friend and can help to create lasting, happy memories. When you get a puppy for your child, there are some things that you do need to consider. Breed, size, the child's age and the family structure are all important for making the determination whether or not a puppy is right for your household. For instance, you would not want to get a Chihuahua when you have a small child because these little dogs are too delicate. A large dog, however, can be rambunctious and may even knock your child over. Once you have decided on the perfect breed, though, and you bring puppy into the family, it is time to help your child learn about puppy care.
Your child needs to realize that a puppy needs to eat regularly. Puppies usually start out eating several times a day, then you can eventually pare it down to just twice a day. You can include your child in the feeding by having a measuring cup in the container of food. Teach your child how to measure the food and put it in the bowl. Even very young children can do this, but make sure that you supervise closely and keep the food container either in a place where the child can not reach it or keep the food container locked. This will prevent overfeeding. You can also provide a limited number of treats for the child to give the dog, but try to emphasize that this is for when the dog does something good.
Puppies need fresh, clean water daily. If you use an automatic waterer, you probably won't have to change the water often, but you can appoint your child as the "water watcher." Have him or her alert you when the puppy's water is dirty or the bowl is empty. Older children can fill the water bowl independently.
This is a task that is generally for older children, but younger children can "help." They can accompany you when you walk the dog outside and, if the dog is an appropriate size, can even hold the leash.
Kids seem to just naturally enjoy fixing up a bed for a pet. Your child can fix the bed and make sure that if it gets soiled in between washings that you are alerted so that you can either change it or wash it. They can also arrange the bedding each day so that it is comfortable for the puppy to nap.
Older kids can do this very well. A dog should be bathed regularly, particularly if they are outside a lot or if there is a flea problem in your area. Take your child with you when you pick out a shampoo and have younger children help you bathe the puppy. Teach older children how to bathe the puppy, but take precautions against the child getting water in the puppy's ears. Cotton works well for this.
No one likes an ill mannered puppy. If you can, get your puppy - and your child - into obedience training. This way your child will learn how to handle and control the puppy and the puppy will learn how to behave. This can go a long way to starting your child teaching the puppy various tricks and will make walks much more pleasant.