There are several things that your child can do to help out with the care and feeding of the family dog. These tasks can be completed by most children, regardless of size. Children like to feel needed and assigning them age-appropriate dog care chores will teach them responsibility and help them to bond with your dog. The following are some things you should consider having your child help out with.
Even the smallest child can help with feeding your pooch. Kibble should be stored in a plastic tub or bin to keep it fresh. Your child can use a scoop to put out the proper amount of food. Your child may also be able to refill your dog's water dish, depending upon their size and ability to access the sink.
Most dog breeds need regular brushing to keep them from shedding all over your house and keep the mats and tangles out of their fur. Even if your dog has short fur that doesn't need a lot of grooming, brushing feels good for their skin and gives your dog the attention he craves. Give your child a soft brush and teach them how to gently brush the dog in the direction of the fur growth. This doesn't take a lot of effort and can even be done while your child watches television or reads a book.
Bigger kids can take the family dog for a daily walk. This gets your dog and your child the exercise that they need. It also gives them a chance to bond and enjoy each other's company. Make sure your child stays close to home and employs good safety practices. You should also purchase a high-quality walking harness that your dog cannot easily slip out of, to prevent any accidents.
If you have a fenced yard or access to a dog park and your dog is a high energy breed, send your dog and child outside every day to play. Invest in some good dog toys like balls, stuffed animals made especially for dogs, tennis balls and even frisbees. Your child can play games with your dog and both of them will get the exercise that they need.
This chore is better for older children. If your dog uses your yard for its bathroom needs, older children can help with clean-up duty. Make sure you provide them with the proper supplies, such as a shovel or other equipment made for the job. Trash bags and gloves are also a must. Frequent clean-ups will keep your yard looking good and give your child a sense of responsibility.
It is important to keep chores age-appropriate for your child and teach them the proper way to do things. You can also use these chores as part of your child's allowance and reward them with spending money. Your child will learn to be responsible and can share in the care of the family pet at the same time.