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You and your pets

pets; pet safety; vet; animal hospital; safety; game; quiz; responsibility;


Do you or your family have a pet?  

What kind of pet is it? Who chose it? Who looks after it?

Pets can be lots of fun if you have the right pet for you, your family and your lifestyle.

Have a look at the topic Pets - keeping yourself safe.

What's good about having a pet?

  • petsYour pet can be a friend.
  • You can learn about sharing and caring for others by looking after your pet.
  • You can learn about responsibility by feeding, exercising and keeping your pet clean and happy.
  • You can learn about the kind of pet you have.
  • Your family can all enjoy the pet.
  • Playing with pets can help you feel happy.

Choosing a pet

There are some people who have pets like snakes, spiders, crocodiles and other 'wild' animals. (Thank goodness my kids aren't into anything like that - I don't think I would be too good at sticking tablets down a crocodile's throat!)

Most people have more traditional pets like dogs, cats, birds, fish, mice, guinea pigs, tortoises and rabbits. Some people may have larger pets like donkeys and horses.

Before you choose a pet you have to think about:

  • petswhere you live - do you have a garden or do you live in a flat?
  • how much time you and your parents have to look after a pet
  • do you have a younger brother or sister who may not be able to be safe around some pets
  • where the pet will live
  • how big it will grow up to be - puppies and kittens are really cute when they're small but they could grow up to be quite huge!
  • who is going to look after the pet?
  • how much it will cost - food, injections to stop your pet from getting diseases, licences, vet's bills, holiday care, as well as any damage which might be done to homes and gardens by pets which are curious or bored.

You need to think about all these things

  • what other pets are in your neighbourhood - walking a dog that is new to the area can be rather noisy and a bit scary, as other dogs will want to check out the new dog.
  • what kind of pet will suit your lifestyle - it is a good idea to have a talk with your local vet who can advise you on the kind of pet that would fit in well with you and your family.

The website 'Good dog' has a lot of really good information about choosing a pet dog.

Maybe you could adopt a pet who needs a new home? Type 'adopt a pet' into your search engine to find the nearest place where pets are waiting to be looked after by someone like you.

Keeping pets safe

Before you get your new pet, you need to find out all you can about it - what kind of food, when to feed, when to go to the vet, where is the nearest dog training centre (only if you are getting a dog of course - I don't think they train spiders or mice or even crocodiles!) Check out  for more information about dogs.

A well-behaved and trained dog is easier to handle and much more pleasant to have around than a dog which jumps up, pulls on a lead and is a total embarrassment when other people are around. Young animals like to check out anything new to them with their eyes, claws, tongues and teeth.

It's a bit like having a baby around. You have to think for them and make sure that they can't get at anything which could harm them.

  • petsMake sure that electric cords are out of their reach, or cover any cords that are near the ground with something they can't chew through.
  • Don't give them human medicines. If your pet has a cough, your cough mixture could make it ill.
  • Keep all medicines - human or pet - out of your pet's reach. Like babies, they will taste everything they see, and they can't read the label either.
  • Only give your pets treats that are specially made for them. Yes, I know pets think they should share your treats but chocolates and chewing gum can make them ill.
  • Look around your yard for danger to your pet. Are there any holes, gaps in concrete, drains or swimming pools that your pet could fall into or get stuck in? (If you have a compost heap, it's a good idea to cover it up, as some pets I have known just love rolling in anything smelly!)
  • pets-7.jpg (4528 bytes)Make sure there are no poisons, like snail bait, where your pet could go.  Snail bait is very poisonous for dogs and cats.
  • Be careful to keep your toys away from your pet, as small pieces could get stuck in your pet's throat.
  • Don't let your pets wander around the district without you. They could get hurt or catch diseases from other animals. You might have to pay a fine to the council if they catch your dog and take it to their pound.
  • Teach pets to 'do the right things'. If you let your cute puppy jump onto the furniture, will you be happy for him to do the same when he's a fully-grown dog? I don't think so!
  • Don't leave your dog in a car when the weather is hot.
  • Give your pet lots of exercise.
    pets    pets

As you can see, there are lots of things to think about before you bring a pet into your home.

Dr Kim says

Dr Kim Pets can be a great part of your life.

They enjoy being with people and are always ready to play with you or just sit and keep you company. Watch out that baby brothers and sisters do not share food with pets, and check out that sandpit before young children play there, as cats, in particular, like to use them as a toilet.


Did you know?

  • A female donkey is called a Jenny.
  • A frog's skin is not waterproof like ours. They take in air and water through their skin but have to keep their skin damp, or the water will escape again and they will dry out.
  • A special permit is needed to have most Australian native animals as pets. If you find an injured or baby animal, you should ring your vet, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or similar organisation where you live and ask for advice.
  • There are lots of clubs around that you can join if you own a pet. They are usually listed in the telephone book. You can learn all about looking after, training, breeding and lots of other interesting things about your type of pet. You can also make new friends who have at least one interest in common with you.

What some children said about pets

  • "When I was going on holiday I had to bring my dogs down to my Pop and Ma. When we came back from our trip, Pop told me that one of my dogs had been eating a poisonous plant in the garden. He was very sick and we had to take him to the vet. Look around your garden to see if there are poisonous plants that could hurt your pet."
  • "When you are getting a new dog or cat you should clap your hands in front of them to find out if they are blind or deaf."
  • "You should dry your pet if it has been in water or in the rain, or it could catch a cold."
  • "Make sure that your dog has had his injections before you take him out on a walk."
  • "My class has stick insects and my brother's class has silkworms. Sometimes our family gets to look after them at weekends and holidays." Joseph


Don't overfeed your pet
Or you might have to see the vet.
Keep pets away from electric cord,
Play lots with him or he'll get bored.
I hope you learned a lot from this,
Or else you may be in a twist.



A cage with a cricket
A bird or a mouse
Hamsters, guinea pigs or rabbits
In their own little house.
Ants or other insects
You've caught for you to study.
A horse or a dog
To be your special buddy.
Multi-coloured fish
Or turtles swimming round.
All pets are fun.
At least that's what I've found.



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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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