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Most families love to have pets and most choose to bring home either cats or dogs. If you have young children you have to take into consideration the pros and cons of cats and dogs. You have to think about the dangers, the responsibilities, and the joy that having these pets brought into your home.

Many people decide to bring home a pet without giving it too much consideration and then find themselves realizing that they cannot keep the pet for one reason or another. Many wind up giving it away or taking it back to the animal shelter. This can be hard on the animal and especially hard on young kids. Once the animal is in your home your child will not want to part with it. Taking a child’s pet away from him or her can be a devastating experience.

You have to keep in mind that dogs need to be walked. Will you or someone else in the family take the responsibility to make sure that the dog is walked on a scheduled basis? If you do not have a back yard it would not be a good idea to get a breed that will grow into a large dog. If you live in a small apartment maybe you should consider a breed whose size won’t change too much. If you decide on a large breed, then you should consider getting a puppy. Large dogs can be dangerous around young kids especially if you bring home a full-grown dog. Getting it while it's still a puppy will give the dog and the child time to get to know each other and therefore, by the time the dog is fully-grown it shouldn’t be as dangerous for your child. Never leave a dog and a very young child unattended and never forget to feed your dog. Dogs that have gone unfed have been known to attack young kids.

Cats on the other hand have claws and can be very dangerous for young kids, especially infants. Cats can climb, and there’s always the possibility that a cat might climb into your child’s crib when nobody’s looking. Cats do not need walking, but you have to be careful about young children playing with the kitty litter, which can make them sick, especially if digested. You have to remember that children between the ages of 1 and 4 years old are constantly putting things into their mouths.

If you decide to get a cat, will you be allowing this cat to roam outside of your house? If you do, remember that you never know what the cat will be exposed to. You don’t want your cat bringing home any unwanted diseases, infections, ticks, etc., that could possibly be passed on to your kids.

Many people think that if you have mice in your home it’s a good idea to bring in a cat in order to get rid of the mice. But remember young kids love to play with their pets, and cats can be licking your child’s face after digesting a mouse. This would not be very hygienic for your child.

You need to consider all these aspects before you make a decision. All kids love pets and pets can become your child's best friend, but children also need to be in safe environments. Whether you choose a cat or a dog, keep these issues in mind. Take the necessary precautions; keep kitty litter where your child will not be able to reach it. Keep the door to your baby's bedroom closed at all times so that the cat won’t be able to get into the crib. Never allow your children to hit their pets or abuse them in any way, as animals will retaliate when provoked.

If you take the necessary precautions you and your children can enjoy having a pet and create a loving bond between animal and human that will not be easily broken.