Caring for a family pet provides many benefits for children. Studies show that children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma. It is also known that playing with a pet may help lower blood pressure and require fewer visits to the doctor. Children who own a pet get outside more and are able to reduce stress and anxiety through their relationship with their pets. Children who are learning to read often feel more comfortable reading aloud to their pet. Sharing love and caring for a family pet brings a family closer together and encourages childhood responsibility.
There are many different pets to choose from. Dogs and cats make wonderful pets and we all know the advantages and disadvantages to both choices. Its fun to think outside the box of traditional pets such as dogs and cats and look to other types of animals.
Our family has enjoyed many different pets from ferrets, fish, a very spoiled Budgie, african dwarf frogs and a very special hermit crab. We live with an interesting combination of amphibian, bird and mammal and it has given our children a hands-on lesson in science.
My son learned a lot about what it means to be patient as he waits for his friend to wake and play. Since ferrets are smaller in size than a cat or dog, learning to play with a ferret teaches children to be gentle and careful.
Ferrets are known to suffer from several distinct health problems. Among the most common are cancers affecting the adrenal glands, pancreas and lymphatic system. Our ferret suffered from adrenal gland disease which requires a monthly shot. Caring for him is teaching our son compassion and he learns a lot from our monthly vet visits. Keep in mind that this disease is unfortunately very common in ferrets and presents itself as early as 2 year of age. It can be a costly disease to manage so research before making your decision to add a ferret to your family. Sadly our family said goodbye to our last surviving ferret.
Ferret Central is the best online resource I use, it is currently being updated but has some basic information that does not change. It is best to research owning a ferret thoroughly prior to adding one to your family.
In Massachusetts, the best veterinary office for ferret care is Angell Animal Medical Center. Massachusetts Ferrets Friends is a great resource to ferret owners as well.
Our fish, Buddy teaches our son about caring for a friend that lives in a completely different habitat. Not being able to touch or play with the fish has brought on some creative interactions between the two. Blue Paxton the Third is a Betta fish, very easy to care for.