Top 5 Tips for Getting a Therapy Pet

Building Blocks Therapy Centre’s

Top 5 Tips for Getting a Therapy Pet

By Jevetta Doyley


  1. Know Your Child’s Temperament

Try to choose the appropriate pet for your child’s needs.  For example, if your child doesn’t like loud noises, choosing dog breeds such as Alsatian’s may not be the best option.  If you want your child to engage with the pet, fish aren’t always the best option, although lots of maintenance is required, they do not interact very much with their owners, however, they are great for eye tracking games and joint attention.  Have a think about the type of skills you want your child to develop with the pet and then generalise with those around him.  Thinking about getting a dog?  The Pet Guide offers a run down on the best pooches for you, from the quiet Greyhound to the boisterous Beagle.  Click here to read more. 


  1. Choose the Right Age

Think about the kind of skills you want your child to develop.  For example, younger dogs require a lot more attention and may be a bit more excitable.  They also may need a lot more training.  If you feel this may scare your child, go for an older pet.  Older, more seasoned animals are a lot calmer and patient.  Be sure to show them a lot of love and affection, so that they become accustomed to this treatment. It is also important to bear in the mind the age of your children.  Younger children might be better suited to certain animals than others.


  1. Know Your Options

Often, when we first think of animal and child interactions, we think of dogs.  However, there are a myriad of animals out there just waiting to be shown the love and care we all deserve.  Before embarking on purchasing any animal, think about what you are looking for, the living space you have, your daily routine and your pet options.  Having a huge Labrador would be great but if you don’t have the space available, it could do more harm than good.


  1. Ensure Your Child Knows How to Treat their New Friend

One of the best ways to learn is through experience but, whether we’re young or old, its always great to learn new things through books.  In preparation for your new friend, reading books about getting a pet and how to handle your pet are a must.  Jennifer Ridgeway has created a list of some of the best books to help your child understand how our little friends should be treated.  Remember animals can’t communicate with us so your child needs to understand what the animals needs, likes and doesn’t like to ensure they are both happy.  Click here to read her top 8.


  1. Know What You Are Getting Into

Before getting a pet, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into.  Its important for both you and your new friend to be happy and healthy.  Research your options and determine what works for you and your family.  Life expectancy, vet bills, vaccinations, exercise, diet, and living space are just a few of the elements you will need to consider when embarking on this new friendship.  Make sure you have considered all before buying.