Take the Test! Questions to Ask Before You Get a Classroom Pet

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Classroom pet mouse on an exercise wheel

Is a classroom pet right for my class?

Questions to ask before you get a classroom pet.

Questions to ask before you get a classroom pet.
Number Question Yes No
1 Why do I want a classroom pet? Can I meet my educational objectives without bringing a live animal into the classroom?    
2 Do I have the necessary skills to be the prime carer for this animal? What do I need to learn in advance?    
3 Do my students have the self-control and maturity to safely and humanely handle an animal? What would I need to teach them in advance?    
4 Does my classroom have an appropriate space for securing caging,away from heavy traffic areas? Will this area support housing with adequate space, hiding areas, sunlight, shade and the correct temperature?    
5 Am I able to provide good food, blankets, toys, bowls, chewing materials, grooming equipment and other necessary supplies (depending on the species) on a regular basis?    
6 Am I willing to pay for routine and emergency veterinary care?    
7 Can I provide a pet with adequate opportunities for exercise, attention and gentle handling?    
8 Am I prepared to include the pet in my school’s emergency evacuation plan?    
9 Is there a potential risk that the animal could cause injury or transmit disease to a child? Will by school accept liability?    
10 Do any of my students’ parents object to having an animal in the classroom?    
11 Am I prepared to deal with students’ questions or grief if the animal becomes ill or dies?    
12 Can I guarantee this pet will enjoy its legal (and moral) right to the Five Freedoms:
– freedom from hunger and thirst
– freedom from discomfort
– freedom from pain, injury or disease
– freedom to express normal behaviour
– freedom from fear and distress

Material adapted from material published in For the Birds!, – Activities to Replace Chick Hatching in the K – 6 Classroom, NAHEE, 1998 (the youth education division of the Humane Society of America). Teachers are encouraged to reproduce this material for distribution to other teachers. Reproduction for sale or publication is prohibited.