The death of a pet introduces children to this very important experience in life - that is, the death of a loved one. When the time comes,the Blue Cross and the Society of Animal Studies run the Pet Bereavement Support Service with booklets and trained counsellors. Don't tell your child that a pet has "gone to sleep" because a) your child may take it that the animal is coming back and b) they may in turn be afraid to fall asleep in case they don't come back, either.
Most of all, pets are magic! They share our ups and downs, our successes and our failures; they are always happy when they get up in the morning, no matter what the weather. And they will always welcome a child home from school.
Choosing the Right Pet for Your Family
The right pet teaches children a great deal - research is important. Many animal charities have pages for kids and also plenty of advice for those parents seeking pets, with information packs about choosing a pet, and some of this will focus on pets for children. A good vet will also be able to help you. Some pets are better in pairs; others aren't necessarily as good with children as the immediately appear, although this can vary from breed to breed and species to species. Get advice if you're unsure.