Which pet is suitable for children?

At some point, many parents ask themselves whether it would not make sense to give the child an animal so that it learns about responsibility and duties. Perhaps the child has already expressed a wish for a pet.

Unfortunately there is now no list that tells you which pets are best or least suitable for children in descending order. Of course, there are animals that suit children better than others, or animals that are out of the question as long as the child has not reached at least the age of teenagers.

You have to find out which animal suits your child best. Popular pets for children include B. guinea pigs or hamsters, but are they really best friends or should you think about other animals? A dog ensures that the whole family regularly comes into the fresh air, but because of its diverse demands on keeping, it is not the suitable pet for everyone.

The parents make the decision

Even if your child already wants a specific pet, one thing must be very clear: you, the parents, decide whether you are willing to take responsibility for it. If the child at some point no more desire on your own pet, you have to be willing to take care of all the grooming yourself.

Perhaps the child’s listlessness is only temporary; you definitely have to reckon with the situation. Do not talk yourself into this possibility in advance by saying: "Then the animal comes away again." If you have this setting, please immediately refrain from purchasing any pets at all. Because you have to be able to convey one thing to your child: an animal is not a disposable item. This is also part of the child’s learning of responsibility.

So that means in plain language: Do you really want the dog, the cat, the budgerigars or whatever animals your child desires – for many years? In many cases even until the child is of legal age and beyond? Don’t just plan until the day after tomorrow, but think about the future.

This may mean that the family has to agree on another pet, that is, one that may not grow old and do not do as much work. Because even if it is primarily the child who wants to keep an animal friend, parents always have sole responsibility. Many a child quickly loses interest in taking care of the animal. It may prefer to play with other children instead of cleaning the cage.

Book tip *: dwarf rabbits

The pet: the danger to the child

Admittedly, the heading is chosen dramatically, and it is certainly a little strange to think about the danger that a rabbit or a budgie should pose for a child.

In principle, however, every animal can scratch or bite, or even both. How painful and serious the consequences of this depends, of course, on the animal species.

So do not neglect the most important of all learning processes for your child: How do you handle the animal correctly? How do I know it wants to be left alone? Children often find it very difficult to hold back. An annoyed cat may teach a lesson to your offspring. Small animals or smaller birds rarely bite, but try to withdraw. If they continue to be harassed, this means great stress for them – these animals may develop permanent fear of people. So always keep an eye on how your child deals with the pet – which we also have the transition to:

The child: the danger to the pet

Almost everyone knows the stories from their own childhood:

One of the hamsters fell there. The other accidentally stepped on his budgie that was walking around on the floor. Or the little sister who could not walk or speak yet and spanked the curious rabbit with a spoon. Or the mouse that twisted out of the friend’s hands and fell into his father’s hot coffee.

Some smile or even laugh when they’re from these "mishaps" tell. For the respective animal, however, this was no fun, but sometimes deadly serious.

Don’t let these stories repeat themselves. Small children are still awkward in their movements. You always need the support and helping hands of adults when dealing with animals. Children can also be very wild; they have to learn to control themselves when dealing with their animals.

Even older children who have not yet learned to respect animals may come up with stupid ideas and do things with their pets that cause pain and stress or make them ill.

An animal is not a toy

Make it clear to your offspring right from the start that a pet is a living being with feelings and needs and must be respected as a new family member and friend. That means e.g. This also means, for example, that your child has to understand that a guinea pig has no fun getting clothes for dolls and that the dog does not find it okay to pull on his tail even though he does not resist.

A species-appropriate home for the pet

So you are really ready to take responsibility for the new family member – or new family members – who should enrich family life and by whose presence the child should learn responsibility and respect for animals – remember, that is yours job!

It is your responsibility to give the animal the home it deserves. Never forget one thing:

For you, the animal you choose is just a companion for part of your life’s journey.
For the animal, you and your family are all of life.

Most animal species, especially birds and small animals, cannot be kept individually. A budgie? A rabbit? A guinea pig? This is cruelty to animals. This fact is not glossed over by the fact that it is "used to do that before". Just because everyone did it doesn’t make it right.

And guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and the like must never remain in the cage all day long, even if it is a large cage. Adequate posture means that animal friends get enough exercise and variety.

Which pet gets tame?

Perhaps you argue that the animal will not be tamed if it is kept in pairs or more. That is wrong; You will find enough counterexamples if you deal extensively with your desired animal. But it can become tame. But it doesn’t have to.

Of course you could e.g. B. choose a particularly cuddly and child-loving cat from the shelter – if a cat fits into your life, there is nothing to be said against it.

Tame as a prerequisite for that "perfect pet" you should quickly forget. Tame is a gift, but nothing you can expect. This is exactly what your child needs to know and understand before buying an animal. If the child wants an animal primarily for cuddling, petting and playing, many animal species are no longer needed.

If you have really tamed the topic of tame, there are many possibilities. Therefore, the question of which animal is best suited for children cannot be answered across the board.

But one thing is certain: a child has taken the decisive step when it has learned to love its animals as they are. A child who doesn’t bother her and who just enjoys watching and taking care of her has learned something important.

Let’s go with a pet?

You may also have to discover that there are reasons against an animal. In this case, please be really honest with yourself – for the sake of the animal, but also for the sake of your child. Because whoever buys an animal without being able to do it justice, will surely not convey the right values ​​to a child!

An important point that is often forgotten is allergies. So if the family has actually decided on an animal species and is sure that they can cope with all the requirements for species-appropriate husbandry, an allergy test of all family members should be carried out before purchasing.
Not only cat and dog hair can be allergic Cause reactions, but z. B. also the plumage of birds or the bedding of small animals such as rabbits.

If there is no way for you and your family to keep a pet, be it because you cannot ensure that they are kept properly or because of health reasons, explain to your child in peace and in detail why it is not possible. A mere one "No" would be unfair and your child will learn nothing.

Find other ways to give your child contact with animals and nature. Perhaps as a whole family you can volunteer to run dogs in the shelter. Or maybe there is even the possibility for older children to help care for the animals in the shelter. Discover wild animals in the forest and show how exciting it can be to simply observe an animal without disturbing it.

Always remember: true love of animals can also mean giving up. This is also an important life lesson that your child should learn to become an animal-loving person.


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