Does Having a Pet Teach Responsibility

Children have to be taught everything from how to use a fork to responsibility. Nobody is born knowing how to be responsible to take care of themselves or others; these are things they learn as they grow up. One of the best ways to teach your child how to be responsible and make good choices for themself and others is to adopt a pet. 

Pet adoption can teach anyone responsibility and can even give your children a reason to wake up early on a Saturday morning. Being a pet parent at a young age can help children develop essential, valuable life skills; it can also make them better pet parents in the future. We all know the benefits of pets, including lower stress levels, increased happiness, and motivation. But, perhaps the most significant advantage of pet ownership for children, besides having a loyal best friend, is learning responsibility. 

How Do Pets Teach Responsibility?

habit of pet

Pets don’t just teach children responsibility; any adult who adopts a pet will have a new sense of purpose that comes with responsible pet ownership. Anyone with a pet will make better choices to ensure the health and wellness of their pet. Pets aren’t able to talk to us in the same way people can, but they can still teach us a lot. Here’s how pets teach responsibility:

Attention and Care

Pets require just about the same attention and care as children; they need regular vet visits and a schedule. Dogs are creatures of habit. Once you get them on a schedule, including when to wake up, go outside, and go for a walk, that schedule becomes hard to break. Other pets, such as cats, rabbits, and fish, don’t require as much planning and scheduling. 

That being said, all pets need to be fed, given water, and regularly see the vet. Cats and dogs might also require grooming. Everyone can benefit from being able to keep a schedule, especially children. Because your animal might require you to keep a schedule you’ve given them (accidental or not), you’ll be more likely to stick to that schedule, which is a form of responsibility. 

Children, especially, can benefit from schedules, especially at a young age. As they grow up, they’ll learn the importance of schedules, so the earlier they learn when to wake up and go to bed, the easier it will be to get them up to go to school. 


Even pets that are independent need human companions. A human will need to feed them and fill their bowls with water. Additionally, dogs might require training to learn how to behave at home and out in public. Anyone can become more responsible because they must fulfill their pet’s needs. When a small child begins feeding their pet, they become more compassionate and learn how to care for others. 

Unconditional Love

Pet parents wake up early on Saturday mornings for their pets because they love them. Pets offer us unconditional love that we can’t get anywhere else. Pets teach your child what it’s like to be needed and loved without asking for anything, which helps everyone learn the importance of love and compassion. 

Putting Others First

You can’t always do what you want to do when you have a pet. For example, if you have a dog, you can’t always go on vacation for a week without having some sort of plan, or even sleeping in late on the weekends. Having a pet teaches us to put others first, especially when someone or some pet relies on us. Being a pet parent forces you to consider what’s truly important in your life. 

For example, many pet parents can’t travel for long periods because they don’t have proper care for their pets, meaning there’s nobody they fully trust to babysit their precious pet. Most of these pet parents don’t care that they don’t get to do everything they want to do; as long as their pet is happy, safe, and healthy, pet parents are content. 

Tasks that Teach Responsibility

Having a pet comes with the responsibility of additional tasks to perform. Whether you have a rabbit or a dog, there’s something you’ll have to do for them every single day. Here are age-appropriate tasks that teach children and adults responsibility through pet ownership:

Small Children

Feedings: Small children can fill the pet’s food bowl every morning and night or whenever the pet needs to eat. 

Grooming: children can also groom the pet with a pet-safe brush or comb if the pet needs to be regularly groomed. 

Older Kids

Older kids should do everything small children can do plus:

Exercise: Take the dog for walks around the neighborhood. 

Training: If the pet can be trained, children can help with training simple tricks, such as “sit.”

Teenagers and Adults

Teenagers and adults must do everything small children and big kids can do, plus:

Vet visits: Pets of all kinds require regular vet visits and will need to go to the doctor in case of emergencies. 

Purchasing food: All pets need to eat, so it’s up to the pet parent to purchase their food for regular feedings. 

Longer Exercise: Children should not take the dog on long walks without supervision, but teenagers and adults can walk the dog to the park or other neighborhoods.

Training: Adults are responsible for teaching the pet how they should behave, including simple tricks and behavioral training. Adults can also work with a certified pet trainer. 


Pet parents of all ages are responsible for the emotional care of their pets. Most pets will ask for your attention when they want it. While it’s not always convenient, you should spend a little time bonding with your pet every day and show them how much you love them. 

Caring for Pets Teaches Responsibility

While at first, young children can feel like all of the responsibilities associated with taking care of pets are chores. However, once your child understands how important these small tasks are for the health and wellness of the pet, they’ll stop seeing them as chores. Instead, they’ll understand that pets require responsibilities, and without them, we couldn’t have pets and the unconditional love they bring into our lives. 

Remember, you should never bring a pet into your home if you’re not completely committed to them. Depending on your lifestyle, you may have to make major changes to ensure your pet is happy and healthy; pet ownership might not be for you if you’re not ready to do that. 

About the Guest Author: Marné Amoguis


Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.

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