In my opinion, pets are awesome companions for kids. However, pets are a lot of work (kids are too, lol!) and I believe that kids should have an evolution in responsibility to help care for the family pets.
When the boys were younger (aged 5 and 7) we got our dog, Bowser. It was shortly after that the boys took over his feeding times, which includes rinsing out his bowl and filling his water dish.
Since Bowser’s over 3 times their weight, they have not walked him, but this would be a great progression if you have a smaller dog. Supervised walks with an adult, whittling down to their own walk time.
After a couple of years, this progressed to the boys helping with yard clean up and poop-scooping. Mike supervised them in the beginning, teaching them the way he wanted it done, and then gradually leaving them to it. Now, all we have to do is yell “Dog poop, guys!” on a weekend afternoon and they are pros at it 🙂
Both Bowser and Shadow require regular brushing and that’s something that the boys help out with too.
No matter what your children’s ages, talk to them about starting to help care for the family pet, like I tell the boys, the pets are the whole family’s responsibility!