Tot-Appropriate Pet Care

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Teaching your child about an animal’s need for food, water and exercise is critical, but don’t expect a toddler to take responsibility for the pet’s care. “It’s not in their capability,” says Michele Borba. But your child can help, and when he does, remember to thank him so that he gets to experience the pride and confidence of being a good pet owner.

What a toddler can’t do:

» Take the dog for a walk
» Remember to feed the pet every day
» Make the final decision about the best pet to get (only you should do this with help from a vet)
» Keep a pet groomed
» Train a pet

What a toddler can do:

» Get the leash; walk along with you and the pet
» Help fill the pet dish with food/water
» Name the pet
» Get the brush and groom with you
» Repeat one or two simple commands to a dog, such as “sit”

How your toddlers can help you with the family pet (and how they can’t.)

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