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Things to Keep in Mind When Adopting a Pet for Your Child

Mon, May 20th , 2019
Author: Maria Bechara Expert: Sevine Fakhoury

After pondering long and hard about it, you’ve finally decided to grant your child their precious wish of having a pet. You want to take the big step to make your child happy, but you’re new to this, so you find yourself questioning whether you’re ready or not. 

Worry no more about the big responsibility of having a pet because active BETA member, Sevine Fakhoury, spoke with etcetera about the most important steps every parent should take before adopting a fur baby for their own baby. 


Key Reminders 

Before you rush to the shelter or make a promise to your child, make sure you have the following mental-notes list checked.


Adopting an Animal Is a Lifetime Commitment:

 “A pet is not a toy used for a few months of amusement and then thrown away”, emphasizes Sevine “Parents must make sure that they have the time and capacity to care for a pet, just as they would care for a child of their own. Otherwise, it’s best to wait for a more appropriate time to adopt.” 


A Thorough Search Might Come in Handy:

If you wish to adopt a dog, a pure or mixed breed will love you the same. “It is commonly believed that ‘mutts’ are less loving and smart, but the truth is, mutts are no less intelligent or loving than purebred dogs, and we cannot stress that enough”, explains Sevine. 

If you decide to adopt a purebred dog, looking up different breeds online and learning about the different characteristics specific to each one is really important. “It’s advisable to agree with the whole family on the character of your future pet, and how practical it is with your lifestyle”, recommends Sevine “Some families might like a calm dog that suits their predictable way of living, while other families might be better off with an active dog that will keep up with their frequent outdoor trips.

Keep in mind that due to poor breeding, many dogs do not adhere to their breed standards.” When adopting a mixed breed, it is important to choose the one suitable to your lifestyle based on his/her character.

When adopting a cat, keep in mind that they generally dislike changes once settled in because they have some difficulties adapting to new environments and prefer the old and familiar ones, unless they were guided otherwise.” 

Keep Your Expenses in Check: 

Having a pet will not only take up space in your living room and your schedule but also in your pocket. “Make sure you do the proper calculations to know what to expect when it comes to the budget designated for your pet’s food, accessories, and veterinary visits”, Sevine warns. 

Involve Your Child in the Process: 

When preparing for a pet adoption, don’t leave out the kids. “Engage your child in a talk about the pet’s character and how to deal with him/her, as well as explain that pets are beings with feelings: they get cold, hungry, afraid, and even angry if provoked”, explains Sevine.

Get Up-Close and Personal: 

Having a new furry roommate will require you meeting them and getting to know them before they move in.“Visit the shelter with assistance to have a broader idea of what you’re getting yourselves into”, advises Sevine “Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your worries and fears, as well as share the character of your child as it is important for the choice of the pet.” 


Helpful Tips for Adoptive Parents

Once you’ve completed the pre-adoptive search, you can begin with the adoption process and keep these tips in mind: 

1- Have a Meet and Greet:

The children should be properly introduced to the pet with their reaction being observed, and the pet needs to become familiar with the family.

2- Never Leave a Child Alone With the New Pet:

They are both new to each other, and the child might provoke the pet. In return, the pet might have a sense of discomfort or irritation, and the child might not understand his/her body language, making the experience a negative one.

3- Never Encourage Rough Play or Wrestling With the Pet

Be it adults or children, provoking the animal could lead to unwanted, and sometimes even dangerous consequences. “Every action expects a reaction and this is no different in the case of pets”, explains Sevine “If you expect your fur baby to play nice, you must treat them with kindness.”

4- Feed Your Pet in a Safe Place Away from the Children:

Some pets might feel more comfortable eating alone, and therefore, we should give them their space, so they don’t feel the need to protect their food or compete for it with the child.  

5- Don’t Leave the Pet Alone With Your Child’s Friends

The pet will be more tolerant towards the family’s children but might react differently with a visiting child, who might not understand the pet’s behavior.

6- Be Ready for Any Difficult Talks that Might Come Up:

 If the animal is sick, parents can start by sharing his/her health problems with their children depending on their age, maturity and experience in life. Parents must choose the right words like “He is hurt but the veterinarian will try to do everything that they can to help him”, or if the animal must be euthanized, they can say that the pet will leave peacefully without feeling fear or pain…

Finally, don’t let the long process intimidate you or change your mind about adopting a pet. Owning a pet is a very rewarding experience once you follow the above steps to ensure a safe and happy household with a furry new addition! 


BETA is a Lebanese registered non-governmental organization established in 2006 to improve the lives of animals in the region. It is one of the most active animal shelters in Lebanon and the first to initiate and start rescuing dogs, cats and other species of wildlife in its founding country. They provide rehabilitation and a safe haven while striving to find the loving, permanent homes these animals deserve. Through education and direct action, they work to prevent animal overpopulation and cruelty, and encourage a society that treats animals with compassion.


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