ua en ru

Best time to introduce pet to your child: Precise age revealed

Best time to introduce pet to your child: Precise age revealed When to bring a pet into your child's life (Photo: Freepik)

Pets are true family members. However, when you decide to have a pet, it's important to remember that it comes with significant responsibilities. It's also crucial to know the right time to introduce a pet to a child, according to endocrinologist Dina Krylova.

Health benefits

According to the doctor, if you plan to bring a new pet home, make sure you can provide proper care and attention. There are numerous health benefits associated with having a pet, including:

  • Stress reduction

  • Lowering blood pressure

  • Combating loneliness and depression

  • Increasing opportunities for physical exercise outdoors

  • Lowering cholesterol and triglycerides

  • Improving overall fitness

However, it's important to note that animals can also transmit certain diseases called zoonoses to humans.

Children under 5 years old, pregnant women, adults over 65 years old, and immunocompromised individuals are at a higher risk of contracting diseases transmitted from animals to humans.

Therefore, if you are pregnant, you don't need to give up your cat, but it's better not to get a new one. Also, avoid contact with stray cats. It's crucial to know that cats can be carriers of toxoplasmosis, a disease that can lead to congenital defects in a child.

Pregnant women should also avoid contact with domestic rodents to prevent the impact of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, which can cause congenital defects. If you're pregnant and have pet rodents, avoid direct contact and let someone else clean their environment.

When to get a pet for a child

The endocrinologist mentioned that it's best to get a pet for a child at the following age:

  • After 5 years old when the child is ready to care for the pet more independently.
  • Younger children may perceive pets as toys and may unintentionally harm or traumatize them.

To understand which pet is most suitable for your child, it's essential to consider not only their preferences but also their age. Typically, children start asking for a pet when attending daycare. At this age, children understand and can practice what they are taught and explained to them, but they can also be impulsive, which may scare the pet.

Small animals like hamsters and rabbits are very appealing to children because they resemble plush toys. However, children often handle them roughly, leading to irritation and possible bites from the animals. For this reason, it's advisable to introduce a child to more docile animals that require minimal effort.

Earlier, we reported on why a cat follows you with its tail up and doesn't take its eyes off you.