Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

How do I know when my child is mature and responsible enough to have a pet to care for on his own?

12 Answers
Last Updated: 01/19/2021 at 7:16am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst

Licensed Psychoanalyst

I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.

Top Rated Answers
February 7th, 2015 4:31pm
I would say that if your child is responsible enough to take care of himself, i.e., brush teeth take a bath, feed themselves etc, that is sufficient. You will still have to remind them and be sure it gets done, but taking care of a pet is a great teaching moment for responsibility.
November 3rd, 2015 3:32pm
you wont know it till you give him a him a pet even if hes not mature he would be taking a step to be mature.... :)
July 24th, 2018 3:17pm
Pets are great for childhood development at any age. As a parent, assume they cannot manage the responsibility alone. Plan to take care of the pet with them and you can be pleasantly surprised if they don't need your help.
April 13th, 2015 2:06am
The fact is there is no specific answer. Try starting with a small pet like a goldfish or something that is easy and low maintence or even by allowing them some small responsiblity with a family pet. Then work your way up to their own pet as you see them succeding along the way!
April 29th, 2015 12:46am
Observe their care of their possessions and how they handle their chores. If they handle these with care, they will likely also handle the pet in the same manner.
July 11th, 2015 7:08am
When they can take direction from you and complete the task on a regular basis. Taking responsibility for other things around the house is a good indication they maybe able to care for a pet.
August 10th, 2015 4:11am
Bring him/her to a zoo and that should act as an examination to test whether or not he/she will have a pet to care on his/her own.
November 1st, 2015 11:55pm
You know there child best and you can always help if needed. Can they tidy their room regularly, make their own breakfast or snack? Give them small responsibilities such as doing dishes or taking out trash? Teach them the importance of tasks and reward them with praise encouragement and their own pet :)
July 25th, 2016 3:08am
I would honestly start out with a plant, then a fish, then a small bird. If you have a family pet for the whole family, try assigning tasks for the child to regularly feed, water, walk or otherwise care for and clean up after that pet first. I know so many pets that were given away because a parent or grandparent gave the child a pet with the best of intentions, but the child quickly loses interest because other things compete for time and attention.
November 21st, 2016 5:20pm
How does your child handle his other responsibilities around the house? If he does his chores with relatively little protesting, and is able to manage his schoolwork successfully, then perhaps he is ready for the responsibility of a pet.
June 30th, 2020 2:09pm
This question made me smile! Well, in order to know if your child is going to be responsible to take care of a pet, you could tell him/her to pass a “testing period”. The child could either take care of a fake baby -there are babies for new parents who cry when they want to eat, poop, sleep- or be responsible of anything similar. It may sounds silly but it would be really helpful. Of course a dog doesn’t have so many needs as a baby, however both you and your child could see how ready is the child to take such a responsibility. Good luck ;)
January 19th, 2021 7:16am
Having a pet is a big deal for a family. It's important to know that the pet will be well taken care of, especially when you're not around. As someone who owns 10 pets in total, a really important factor in making this decision is cleanliness. Pets have to have a clean environment (places to sleep, litter boxes, etc.) Grades can also be a useful thing to look at, as it can show commitment. Does your child do things even when they don't want to? Sometimes a dog needs to go out or a cat needs to be fed, even though your child may not feel like doing it.