Many animals are adopted without advance preparation. Helping your child adopt a hamster responsibly includes learning all about their care. It also includes following various procedures. The exact process will depend on the venue, as well as any special needs the hamster may have. Advance preparation can go a long way to ensure your child is interested in providing a healthy, happy life for the hamster.
What should my child know before adopting a hamster? Things like proper diet, what type of housing to use, and the best bedding are essential. But there's much more than that when it comes to the care of a hamster. If your child is going to adopt a hamster, knowing how to hold the hamster, exercise the hamster, and knowing warning signs is also key. It's also a good idea to teach your child random hamster facts, such as the fact that hamsters can hiss when upset. They also may box when threatened.
How can we prepare? Our first hamster was a rescue, leaving us wholly unprepared. All of his supplies had to be bought the same day and we learned how to care for him along the way. While that can be a good way to learn, it's better to be prepared. Study up on what a hamster will need and have plenty supplies beforehand. Doing this has helped us in future hamster adoptions. Now whenever we have room and come across a hamster that needs to be adopted immediately, we don't have much worry about supplies, as we already have them.
I don't recommend stocking up on food too far in advance, as food can expire. But things like toys, bedding, the cage, an exercise wheel, an exercise ball, obstacle course supplies, and other entertainment and care supplies can be purchased well in advance. The less time you are worrying about supplies, the more time you and your child can spend with your newly adopted hamster.
Where can my child learn about proper hamster care? A licensed professional can give you and your child the very best advice. You can also consult books and trusted websites for supplemental information. Some pet supply stores and shelters will offer classes and workshops about proper pet care. It's also a great idea to visit animal shelters and spend time with hamsters before adopting. Let your child hold a hamster to test reactions. A combination of all of the above and more ensures well-rounded hamster care experience.
Where should we go to adopt a hamster? The best specific place to go will depend on your area. Hamsters are found in pet stores, with breeders, and with shelters and rescue groups. Where you go will be up to you. Because pet store hamsters are often the result of mass breeding and other issues, we prefer to instead support shelters and rescues. All of our hamsters have come from unfortunate situations. Shelters and rescue groups often have hamsters of all ages who were abandoned, abused, or neglected. Adopting a hamster in need is a good deed and may also give your child a healthy dose of joy.
Is my child really ready to care for a hamster? After all of your preparation, are you still wondering if your child is ready? You should be able to tell during and after preparation for the hamster if your child is really ready to adopt. Look at the way your child reacts to the hamsters, as well as to care study. If your child becomes bored with all the preparation, you may be overdoing it or your child may not be ready. If you cannot easily and honestly answer whether your child is ready, you should wait. If your child is educationally prepared and visibly happy about adopting a hamster, that's a good indication of readiness.
*Always contact a licensed veterinarian for the health of your animals. The information above is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified professional and is derived solely from the author's own personal experiences.
When Kids Mistreat Animals
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
A frequent reader contacted "Ask Lyn" for advice on this common scenario. You hear a pitiful mew and notice your toddler has the cat by her tail - again. Just two hours earlier you scolded him for doing the same thing. Why is your child hurting the cat and what can you do to stop this behavior? My years of experience as a mom and nanny have shown me several answers to this question.
Why did my child hurt the cat to begin with and what does it all mean? It may simply be a misunderstanding on your child's part or it could mean something deeper. In most kids, it simply means a lack of understanding how to behave with an animal. The ASPCA states that some adults who have been violent toward people also have a history of being violent toward animals. Children who have been exposed to violence also may attempt to show violence toward an animal. It is safer for your pets, as well as your child, to correct the behavior as soon as possible. It is important to remember that just because your child does this, it does not necessarily mean it's intentional or that she will be violent with animals or people in the future.
He doesn't know any better. Has your child been told why pulling a cat's tail or petting him backward is not a good idea? When you warn your child about these and other ill actions toward the cat, don't just say "No". Explain why it's not a good idea. Your child may see the family pet as a toy and not a living being. Some kids need reasons behind requests. You also need to explain things in terms that make sense to your child. A 3 year old will understand that pulling fur feels the same to a cat that pulling hair does to a human.
She hasn't been exposed to animals previously. If your child has never been exposed to animals before, especially cats, that could explain her actions. When a child hurts a cat, it doesn't necessarily mean she is being mean. She just may not have any history to tell her brain what the proper behavior is toward a cat. Ideally, parents should expose children to pets before adopting them. If it's too late for that, limit your child's exposure to the pet until she understands and demonstrates proper cat treatment.
Use gentle guidance and redirection. If you want your child to stop hurting your cat, you'll need to take a look at the whole picture. Exposing him to animals is the proactive end of the stick. But if the behavior has already started, you may also need to be reactive. Each time your child pulls the cat's tail, pets him backward, or otherwise treats him unfairly, use gentle redirection. Gently take his hand and use it to pet the cat slowly and gently. Say things like, "This is how we pet the kitty." "The kitty likes it when we do this." "Ooh, feel how soft the kitty's fur is."
Be consistent. Whether you choose to use the same methods I found useful or another method, the key in making it work is consistency. In order for the lesson to sink in, you need to act the same way each time your child is around the cat. If you use gentle guidance only sometimes and let it slide the rest of the time, this sends a mixed message to your child. What it says is that she only has to treat the cat nice sometimes, which is not what you want to teach her.
If your child cannot treat the cat properly, you may have to separate the two for safety on both counts.
*The above is meant for informational purposes only. Always ask your pediatrician and veterinarian for guidance in your specific situation.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Are you thinking about getting your kids a dog? Don't let that cute doggy face lure you in before your kids even know what to do. My kids have adopted several small animals before, most of them with special needs. However, hamsters and dogs are entirely different. My method for preparing the kids for dog adoption includes plenty of exposure to dogs. Based on our experiences, I firmly believe that prior dog exposure educates kids before dog adoption.
Utilize time with dogs belonging to family and friends. My sister has three cute Dachsunds (aka 'weiner dogs'). When she first started bringing them over, two of my kids were terrified of them. But she kept at it and now all of the kids adore the dogs and get excited each time they come over. The kids have also spent quality time with other dogs belonging to family and friends. I feel this opens them up to a wide range of experiences with dogs, both large and small.
Give kids a chance to take over feeding time. If you have a family member or friend who won't mind the kids taking over one or more scheduled feedings, it can be a big help. My sister lets the kids give her dogs water and special treats when they come over. This is only a good idea with dogs who are not protective over their food. Feeding the dogs helps to prepare the kids for becoming a responsible pet parent. It teaches them what it's like and gives you and your kids an idea of whether they can handle it or not.
Let the kids give basic commands. Part of being a responsible pet parent involves teaching dogs commands. These commands are important for strengthening the bond between your child and the dog. They are also vital in various situations. My sister has already taught her dogs the basic commands. However, she allows my kids to command them and reward her dogs with treats when they comply. This helps to educate them on the kind of commands they should be teaching their future dog. My seven year old has taught her hamster a trick and I believe the idea came in part from giving commands to my sister's dogs.
Spend quality time with shelter dogs. One of our favorite things to do is visit the animals housed by one of the local shelters. The kids and I go interact with the dogs and cats every week, many times more than once each week. Each dog has their own personality. Because of this, I feel it is teaching the kids to adapt to various scenarios they may encounter with their own dog. Some dogs will come up to us right away. Yet others may shy away in the corner until they feel comfortable. We also make toys for the shelter dogs. We sell some of the toys to earn money for the shelter pets and we donate some of the toys as well.
A well-rounded experience with dogs teaches kids what isn't in books. Sure, a book may touch on some of the things kids will experience as a dog parent. In fact, the kids should be studying up as well. But just reading the text is not enough. In order to be fully prepared and well-educated on dog care, one-on-one interaction is an absolute must. What are you doing to prepare your kids for adopting a furry family member?
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they also conquer the world, living the RV life with their awesomely crazy family and telling The Nova Skye Story. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
Hire Lyn & Rich!
Stalk Us On Social Media!
Sites We Like:
A Family Like Yours