May 27, 2024

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When I was about 8 years old, my sister, who is 5 years older than me, really wanted a pet, so she pestered my parents day and night for one. It had to be a guinea pig. I was adamant that she would never understand it. To our surprise, her parents agreed and our guinea pig “Puzzi” ended up living with us for the next 10 years.

Also read: Babies and pets: What you need to know to make your dream team

Now I have children and already have a dog, but my daughter has always expressed a desire to have a pet of her own. As a parent, how do you decide if your child is ready to care for an animal or which animal could be a suitable companion?

We will answer the most important questions, explain the advantages and disadvantages of different pets for the family and explain where the child’s desire for animals comes from.

Pets: Children are looking for loyal friends

A child’s desire to have a pet of their own often stems from a longing for a loyal companion who will be with them through thick and thin. Because your animal friend is just there, not asking questions, just listening, and at most petting you.

Many children develop very close relationships with their pets and learn compassion for others. The earlier children learn about different animals and their needs, the easier it will be for them to learn respect, empathy, and responsibility.

For example, you’ll learn that you shouldn’t pull a cat’s tail, that dog food is only for dogs, and that rabbits should be left alone sometimes.

Children discover the world with pets

It is important to raise your pet in a species-appropriate manner, and this is one of the first things your offspring must learn. Animals, including pets, are living creatures first and playmates second.

But no matter which animal joins the family, it always opens a new world to children. Why can dogs wag their tails but can’t grab rabbits from above? Can guinea pigs recognize their owners with just one step?

Shy children can be soothed by having a dog as a companion, and restless children can be encouraged to sit quietly with a sensitive cat, even if it means being licked by its rough tongue. may learn that it is valuable.

Also interesting: How do you explain to your children that your pet is dying?

Pets for children: hygiene, care and responsibility

If you’re thinking of getting a pet but are concerned about hygiene, don’t worry, it’s usually not necessary. If a toddler presents a spoon to a dog, lets him lick it, and then immediately shoves it into his mouth, no one is going to get sick right away. Make sure (your pet’s) home is clean and have regular checkups by your veterinarian. Of course, parasite treatment is a must.

One thing to always keep in mind when deciding on a pet is that the main burden of care and responsibility always lies with the parents. And in many cases, animals have long lifespans. Your children may grow older, lose interest, or move out of the house, but are you still willing to take care of your pet?

If you want to know which pet fits your family, take a look at the following animals.

Cats as pets: advantages and disadvantages

Cats are the most popular pets among Germans. According to Statista, in 2023, 15.7 million of them lived in German households.

Cats as pets are very easy to care for because they stay busy by themselves for hours and don’t need to be walked. Children also usually fall in love with cats because their soft fur and purrs satisfy the cuddle factor that small children often seek.

Cats are also easy to keep alone. However, you should be able to go outside after that. If you want to keep cats only in an apartment, you should choose two. It’s very boring alone.

However, cats are very independent, so children must learn when to leave them alone. Otherwise, it will get scratched. If you’re thinking of getting a cat or two, stop by an animal shelter. Many cats are waiting for new owners.

die cat price This equates to approximately 30 euros (food) and 20 euros (veterinary allowance) per month. Cats are covered by family liability insurance. By the way, domestic cats can easily live up to 20 years old.

House tabby test: Which cat is right for me?

credit: iStock

Dogs as pets: advantages and disadvantages

Dogs are the second most popular pet among Germans after cats. In 2023, 10.5 million of them lived in German households. Dogs are usually at the top of children’s wish lists.

Because dogs are actually ideal companions for children (if you choose the right breed or a mixed breed that is easy to evaluate). Dogs are much more affectionate than other animals when it comes to comforting, affection, and always have time to play and strengthen their confidence.

but: Dogs are hard work and you need to realize that. Going for walks three times a day (at least twice an hour, depending on your size!), having to stay out late at night due to wind and weather, and on vacation Not going easy, all these things are part of every day. The life of a dog owner. Additionally, your loyal four-legged friend should attend dog school for at least basic training.

monthly thing Fee For a dog, food costs around 50 euros, veterinary care such as vaccinations 20-30 euros, and insurance 5-10 euros. There are costs for baskets, bowls, leashes, and of course training costs (a basic course at a dog school costs about 150-200 euros).

Take the test: Which dog is right for me?

Budgerigars and cockatiels as pets: advantages and disadvantages

Anyone who has owned a budgie knows how fun and happy these birds are. With lots of attention, budgies become docile, chirp to themselves (although they can sometimes reach screams), and are cute to look at.

However, budgerigars (like all pet birds) are flock birds and should not be kept alone. Even if the pet store says otherwise, you can tame more than one animal. Children often don’t show much interest in birds because they can’t actually hold them. Therefore, budgies and cockatiels are more suitable for older children who show an interest in them.

Breeding requires a cage of sufficient size and free flight time should not be underestimated. Even small and cute-looking birds need plenty of exercise.

By the way, parrots can live for 10 to 15 years. This means that one day, when the kids leave home, the bird may still be living with you.

die Fee Two parakeets cost about 15 euros per month.

Rabbits as pets: advantages and disadvantages

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not suitable pets for small children as they cannot express pain and can be easily hurt. Additionally, few hoppers like being picked up (prey behavior) or being carried around, which is usually more than unpleasant for them.

If you want to keep a rabbit as a pet, you should always make sure that you have enough space for the animal. Commercial cages are often too small. Please allow 2 square meters of space per animal. The same applies to rabbits. Ideally, you should keep at least a neutered male and female in pairs.

Rabbits are otherwise very easy to care for, are usually house trained, require only plenty of hay and water, fresh vegetables (lettuce, carrots, apples), and plenty of space, and do well. With good care, they can live up to 10 years.

die Fee The cost per animal is approximately 10-15 euros per month.

Guinea pigs as pets: advantages and disadvantages

Guinea pigs are very popular with children aged 4 to 14, but the same rules apply here as with rabbits. They don’t like being picked up or carried around and need plenty of space to move around.

By the way, it is often said that guinea pigs are not suitable companions for rabbits, and vice versa. These are completely different species and have no idea what they do with each other.

Although guinea pigs are not always house trained, they are otherwise easy to care for and live about 4 to 8 years, although they can get quite old. Just like rabbits, their litter boxes also need to be cleaned twice a week.

die Fee Feeding and veterinary fees cost approximately 10-15 euros per animal per month.

Mouse as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Mice (or rats) are usually very docile and make good playmates. However, they often only live to be about two years old, so it is virtually inevitable that their offspring will shed tears.

The cage should be cleaned every other day. Otherwise, the rodent odor may be strong. Mice and rats are relatively simple, needing only a hiding place in a cage plus grain food and water, fresh vegetables, fruit, and something to nibble on.

die Fee For 2 mice (keep at least 2 of them, as mice and rats are obligate group animals, otherwise they will wear out!) it costs about 10-15 euros per month.

Golden hamster as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Golden hamsters, or other hamster representatives, are very popular with children. They are cute, frugal, and easy pets, but because they are nocturnal, they don’t necessarily need to be kept in children’s rooms.

Small rodents are generally solitary creatures, but they are rarely seen during the day, which can be especially frustrating for young children. They also only live for 2-3 years.

die Fee For a hamster, it costs about 10 euros per month.

Fish as pets: advantages and disadvantages

Fish are considered the easiest “pets” to care for, and that’s true to some extent. They do not need ’employment’, only regular food and clean water provided through automatic machines and filters. Fish is said to have a calming effect.

Still, it takes some knowledge to keep fish in an aquarium to avoid mass mortality. Therefore, you should seek proper advice from your pet store and also set up your first aquarium with professional help.

die Acquisition cost Depending on the size of the aquarium and the types of plants and fish, it can cost upwards of 100 euros.

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