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Nurturing Your Child’s Love of Animals

When children learn to love animals, they also learn valuable lessons in empathy, responsibility, bodily autonomy, science and environmental stewardship. While adopting a furry family member can certainly help your child develop their human-animal bond, not every family is ready for a pet. Fortunately, there are many other ways to ignite and strengthen a child’s passion.

In the early years, it’s all about observation and safe, supervised interaction. When enjoying nature with your child, expand their vocabulary by pointing out all the amazing living creatures you see, from snails to birds to bumblebees. Many children also enjoy playing with farm animal toys and learning their sounds.

Take it a step further by modeling the traits you hope to nurture: Demonstrate consent by always asking dogs and their owners for permission before petting them, then show your child how to pet gently and how to know when to stop. Allow your child to experience patience and wonder by building a butterfly garden with them, then revelling in the splendor of your multi-coloured visitors. Develop your child’s sense of empathy for wildlife by stopping to pick up litter on your walks.

School-aged: 5-12 years.
School-aged children may enjoy immersive experiences such as hiking, touring a farm or joining a 4-H club. Not only does this help them form an understanding of the world around them, but exposure to nature and life cycles can also help to prepare younger school-aged children for tough concepts such as birth and death. If your child wishes to help the animals in their community but are too young to volunteer, they can learn philanthropy through organizing a bake sale or birthday party fundraiser.

Teenager: 13-18 years.

When your teen is ready to take on more responsibility, they can learn work ethic by pet sitting, dog walking, or volunteering at an animal shelter. Don’t forget to ask your local veterinarian if they take co-op students! Many clinics are thrilled to help foster a love for veterinary medicine in the next generation.

As anyone who grew up caring for animals knows, the furry friends of our childhood play a huge role in the people we are today. By nurturing a love for animals in our children, we can help prepare them for adulthood and empower them to make their world a better place.


Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.


Questions? Comments? Contact us today!

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