As parents, we have all had that moment when our youngest ask, or should we say beg, to be allowed a pet. Most of the time, these aspirations start big, dreams of wanting a horse reduce down to a dog, a rabbit may then pique the interest, and finally the go-to for many first pets, the hamster becomes an affordable and mutually agreed option.
Despite this now unofficial contract between parent and child it is important to assess whether this is a genuine interest rather than just a novelty. Pets, no matter how small can take up a lot of time and money and if a child is not suitably engaged with it or willing to understand the work involved then perhaps it isn’t the right time. However, if it is love at first squeak/bark/meow then maybe you have found something very special for your child.
We see it all the time at PBS Pet Travel, the bond between child and pet grows so strong that taking the pet on holiday becomes a genuine dream. Luckily, our expertise in pet travel means no upset children at the departure gate!
Luckily, with technology all around us, there are a host of games and apps that help educate children about the efforts needed around caring for a pet. Thankfully, they are not all mind-numbingly tedious, many are great fun, and it would be no surprise to see Mum or Dad trying to level up every now and then. Some are also free which adds to the allure for those of us likely to be putting some collateral behind the pet investment.
With that in mind, we looked at some of the best pet games for kids that should hopefully help them gain a better understanding of pet care.
1. Pet World- My Animal Shelter
A free game for Android users that allows the child to take ownership of a pet shelter. Through their tenure as the owner of the shelter, they must feed, exercise and groom the host of animals that currently reside there. The end objective is that they successfully find a family to adopt the pets that they have so graciously cared about. A fantastic game that teaches many of the fundamentals to pet care and may also inspire children to think about just how much tasking is involved. Whilst this is a free game there are in-game purchases that can be made so just ensure any you have purchases monitored or disabled where possible.
2. Pocket Pup
A dog often features highly on the list of pet wishlists and this game for Apple devices is a good way to see if your child really understands what is involved in the care of our canine companions. From naming the dog to raising it, feeding it, training it and playing games with it, every part of dog care is covered. Apart from the vaccinations-that still falls under the remit of the parents by the looks of it!
The child receives awards for looking after their dog and can create a virtual 20-page storybook showcasing all the great times and achievements they have shared.
3. My Universe: Pet Clinic Cats & Dogs
This game for the Nintendo Switch is part of a fantastic series that allows the player to take on the role of a vet. Within this edition, you care for sick dogs and cats and have your skills as an animal lover tested. Mastering treatments and nursing the animals back to health helps teach the children how animals are just like us. They get sick or injured and need help to get better. Teaching the importance of bonding with the animals too, this game presents challenges and helps children understand how owning a pet isn’t always smooth sailing.
Howrse is a horse-themed game for those that may have bigger aspirations than having a dog, cat or hamster as the family pet. Whilst the level of care is not a match for the real-life expectations of horse ownership, this free Android game gives players the chance to raise and train horses. With the player able to select breeds, enter competitions and learn about dressage, cross country or racing it gives them the chance to get a little closer to the pet that may be a little unobtainable in the real world. You can pick this game up for free, just be aware of the in-app purchases!
5. Pet Shop Story
Let them take care of their own pet shop and see just how hard pet care can be! In an easy-to-understand and simple-to-follow game, Pet Shop Story allows the player to create their own breeds of pretty much any animal! New habitats for your collection of animals can be designed and built and excellent customer service offers great rewards. Thanks to it being an online game the player can visit other pet shops within the game and make friends with other pet shop owners. Just make sure the pets are looked after and the customers are kept happy!
This is a free game for Apple devices but does come with some in-app purchases.
Animal care games that don’t need a screen
So our top 5 above all rely on your phone, tablet or console but there are some ways you can teach responsible pet ownership and an understanding of pet care without a screen.
The PDSA has curated a variety of care sheets and activities that can be used both before owning a pet and once you have acquired one.
The RSPCA also have some fantastic resources on animal care as well as animal neglect that help show children just why it is so important to care for your pets.
The Cats Protection League are another fantastic charity that has done wonderful work to help protect feline friends. They have provided a useful set of activities that are engaging and ultimay fun.
All of the above can be found at www.peteducationresources.co.uk
Should you have relented and decided a real dog, cat or other furry friend is a great addition to the family speak to our team. We can help facilitate dog travel, cat travel and pretty much any other animal travel meaning that nobody has to miss out when you and the family go abroad. With a free pet travel quote available, it’s quick and simple to organise pet travel to the USA or anywhere else in the world! We can even help with the export health certificate or any other paperwork you may need to complete!