You’ve dreamed about having a pet since you were little, right? So, how can you prove you’re ready? Here are some tips.

Be Responsible

responsibility: having the job of taking care of something or someone; being trusted to do what is right or necessary

Boring, right? But really important. Animals are living creatures. When you adopt a pet, you are making a promise to take care of it for its whole life. You have to feed it, care for it, and keep it healthy. That’s a lot of responsibility.

Do Your Homework

Before you bring an animal home, study up:

  • what does it eat?
  • how long does it live?
  • what kind of habitat (cage, bedding, aquarium, toys, etc.) does it need?
  • how often should it visit a veterinarian?
  • how much are the food and supplies?

For good information, start on the Our Pets page. Check out some library books on pet care. The Internet is a valuable tool, but don’t trust everything you read. A librarian can help you find good resources.

While you’re at it, doing your own homework is a great way to prove that you’re responsible.


Maintain Your Habitat

habitat: the home or environment of a person, animal, plant, or organism

Boy with Rabbit Cage

Every animal has a habitat. Animals in the wild might live in a desert or a burrow under ground. Pets have habitats, too.

  • fish have aquariums
  • guinea pigs have cages or covered tanks
  • cats need food and water dishes, a litter pan, and a scratching post

Many things make up a pet’s habitat and maintaining it takes effort.

  • Aquariums need water changes and to be scrubbed of algae
  • Guinea pig cages need to be cleaned and get fresh bedding
  • Kitty litter needs to be replaced and taken to the garbage

Not all environments are right for all pets. You should inspect your home to make sure it is an environment that will work the pet you want. For example:

  • if you live in an apartment building, what kinds of pets are allowed?
  • is your house big enough for the pet and its habitat?
  • does anyone in your house have allergies? Learn more.

You have a habitat, too. In fact, you have many:

  • your house or apartment
  • your bedroom
  • your desk or locker at school

Keeping your own habitat(s) tidy is a great way to prove you’re read for a pet. For example:

  • put away your clean clothes
  • clear the dinner table
  • take out the trash

You could even surprise your parents by cleaning your room without being asked. Keep it up, and you just might find your parents are willing to let you have a pet!