10 Tips For Taking Toddlers To The Pet Store

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You don’t need to go far to expose your toddler to different kinds of animals. In fact, you can just go to your local pet store. This is a great place for toddlers to explore and have fun, all while on a budget. To ensure you have a smooth experience with your toddler at the pet store, consider the following tips.

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10 Look But Don’t Touch

It can be tempting to want to hold all the animals in a pet store, for people of all ages. But it’s often better to look and not touch. Not every animal is friendly or used to people. Even something cuddly like a hamster or a puppy can bite, which can leave a young child injured and / or traumatized.

Be sure to ask for permission before holding a pet, and make sure your child is sitting on the ground with parental supervision in case the animal becomes aggressive or tries getting away.

9 Ask For The Staff’s Help

On a similar note, it’s also important to ask for the staff’s help before doing something, especially holding an animal. They’re knowledgeable on how to hold the animal and can let you know whether it’s safe for a toddler or not. It’s also important to teach your child why we should ask for permission.


8 Encourage Questions

The pet store is a great way to stimulate a toddler’s curiosity, and you should encourage them to ask any questions they may have. If your little one is a talker, you may be in for a lot of questions. But don’t hesitate to ask the staff if you don’t know the answer.

7 Educational Opportunity

When visiting the pet store, try going in with a purpose. Think about how you can make it a fun, educational opportunity for your toddler. If they just watched a movie about lizards, take them to the reptile section and ask the staff questions about each of the animals. Or, talk your toddler through the different types of dog foods before picking one out.

You could even make a game out of it. Create a scavenger hunt with a list of things to find in the pet store, or play ‘I spy’ as you explore the different pets.


6 Read Books About Pets

To make the most out of the pet store, get your toddler hyped up beforehand. Consider picking up books about the pet store to introduce them to the idea. This can also teach them about proper behavior around pets, like not petting them without permission.

5 Don’t Tease A Pet

It’s not uncommon for kids to ask for an animal of their own at the pet store. If you have no plans of getting a family pet, make that clear from the start. Don’t lead your child on with vague phrases like ‘maybe’ or ‘one day.’ Be clear in what your kids can expect. Even if you’re not getting a pet, tell them you can always come back to the store to visit the animals.

4 Maintain A Watchful Eye

This tip should be a no-brainer, but it’s important to be reminded to never take an eye off your child in a pet store. The younger the kid, the bigger a mess they can create. It only takes a few seconds for kids to get in trouble, especially if they have access to animals. So, don’t let your toddler out of your eyesight.


3 Be Aware Of Anxiety

Not every pet is as appealing as the next. There may be creatures at the pet store that frighten or creep your toddler out, like tarantulas or lizards. Don’t force your child to look at or hold an animal that they’re fearful of; this can be traumatizing. Be on the look out for signs of anxiety in toddlers, such as fidgeting, fussiness, or complaining of feeling sick.

2 Wash Hands Frequently

Even domesticated animals can carry germs and bacteria. Make sure your toddler washes their hands thoroughly before and after the pet store. Bring hand sanitizer in your bag to do it on-the-go or stop at a washroom to give their hands a cleaning. Use it as a chance to explain the importance of hand washing.

1 No Need To Spend Money

Finally, resist the urge to spend money. One of the wonders of going to a pet store with a toddler is that it’s a fun but free activity. Your toddler may be tempted by all of the fun pet supplies (and the animals, too), but be firm when you say you’re not buying anything. Once your child learns not to expect you’ll buy something just because you’re in a store, the quicker they’ll stop asking.

Sources: Rookie Moms, Pets Plus Magazine, Pet Smart,

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