Children or pets

Dog, bird and co .: Which pets are suitable for children?

I remember well when I was about eight years old and my sister, five years older than me, was desperate to have a pet. It should be a guinea pig. It was in my parents' ears day and night. But I was absolutely convinced that she would never get that. But my parents surprisingly agreed and guinea pig 'Putzi' lived with us for 10 years.

Also read:Baby and pet: what you need to know so that they can become a dream team

But how do you as a parent decide which pet is suitable for a child or when is the right time to buy it? We answer the most important questions, tell you what the advantages and disadvantages of the various pets are for families and explain where the child's desire for an animal comes from.

First in the video: 3 strategies to increase the self-confidence of your children

Video by Inga Back

Pets: Children are looking for a loyal friend

A child's longing for their own pet usually stems from the longing for a loyal friend who will go through thick and thin with you. Because an animal friend is just there, asks no questions, listens and, at best, is cuddly.

Many children develop very close relationships with their pets and learn to be considerate of others in the process. The earlier children are made familiar with different animals and their needs, the easier it is for them to learn respect, empathy and a sense of responsibility. For example, they learn that you don't pull the cat by the tail, that dog food only belongs to the dog, or that the rabbit wants to be quiet sometimes.

Children discover the world with a pet

It is important that the pet is kept in a species-appropriate manner and that is one of the first things that the offspring has to learn. Animals, including pets, are first and foremost always living beings and only then playmates! Nonetheless, children are discovering the world with a pet.

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Why is the dog wagging its tail and why is it not allowed to grab a rabbit from above? Can a guinea pig recognize its owner by its crotch?

Shy children can thaw with a dog as a companion and a restless child may learn with a sensitive cat that sitting still can be worthwhile if a rough tongue is licked off for it.

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

Pets for children: about hygiene, care and responsibility

If you are contemplating getting a pet but are concerned about hygiene, get reassurance that these are unnecessary. Even if the toddler extends the spoon to the dog and then, as quickly as lightning, shoves it into its own mouth - no one will get sick straight away. Make sure that your pet's home is clean and have it checked regularly by the vet. Worming etc. are of course mandatory.

What you should definitely keep in mind when deciding on a pet is that the main burden of care and responsibility always rests with the parents. And often the life of an animal is long! The children grow up, may lose interest, or even leave the house - are you still ready to care for the pet?

If you want to find out which pet could fit into your family, just take a look at the following animals.

Cats as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Cats are the Germans' favorite pets. In fact, 13.4 million of them lived in German households in 2016.

As pets, cats are very easy to care for because they spend hours alone and do not have to be taken for a walk. Children are also mostly enthusiastic about cats, because with their soft fur and purring they fulfill the cuddle factor often desired by the little ones.

In addition, cats can be kept well alone. However, you should then be able to go outside. If cats are only to be kept in the apartment, you should choose two of them - it is very boring on its own.

But: Since cats are very independent, children have to learn when to leave the house tiger alone - otherwise there’s a scratch. If you are toying with the idea of ​​getting a cat or two, you should definitely stop by the animal shelter - there are tons of people waiting for a new home.

The Cost of a cat amount to around 30 euros (feed) and 20 euros (veterinary cost reserve) per month. Cats are insured in family liability insurance. House tigers can easily live to be twenty years old, by the way!

House tiger test: which cat is right for me?

Dog as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Directly after the cats, the dog follows in second place as a popular pet. In 2016, 8.6 million of them lived in German households. A dog is usually at the top of the children's wish list!

Because dogs are actually ideal partners for children (provided you choose the right breed or a well-assessable mixed breed). Dogs comfort, are much more affectionate in their love and affection than other animals, always have time to play and strengthen self-confidence.

But: A dog is a lot of work, you have to be aware of that above all. Going for a walk three times a day (depending on size at least two times an hour!), Having to go out in wind and weather and late at night and not go on vacation so easily - all of this is part of everyday life for dog owners. In addition, the faithful four-legged friend should attend the dog school in order to receive at least a basic education.

The monthly costs amount to approx. 50 euros (feed), 20-30 euros (veterinary cost reserve for vaccinations, etc.) and 5-10 euros insurance. In addition there are costs for the basket, bowl, leash and of course the training costs (basic course in the dog school approx. 150-200 euros).

Take the test: which dog is right for me?

Budgie and cockatiel as a pet: pros and cons

Anyone who has ever had a budgie knows how much fun and joy they can be. Budgerigars become hand-tame with a lot of care, warble merrily to themselves (but can also increase to screeching) and are pretty to look at.

But: Budgies are (like all ornamental birds) flocking birds and must not be kept alone. Even if the pet shop says otherwise - two or more animals can also become tame! Children often don't find birds so interesting, because you can't really cuddle with a bird. Budgies and cockatiels are therefore more suitable for older children who express an interest in them.

A sufficiently large cage is necessary for keeping them and the free flight time should not be underestimated. Even if the bird is small and cute to look at, it still needs sufficient exercise.

By the way: Parakeets can live to be 10-15 years old. So when the kids are out one day, the bird could still live with you.

The costs for two parakeets amount to around 15 euros per month.

Rabbits as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not suitable pets for small children, as they can hardly express pain and can easily be harmed.

In addition, very few hoppers like lifting (prey behavior) and carrying around is usually more than uncomfortable for them. If you decide to have a rabbit as a pet, you must make sure that there is enough space for the animal. The commercial cages are often much too small. Allow two square meters of space per animal. The same applies to rabbits - keep them at least in pairs, a neutered buck and a female rabbit are ideal.

Otherwise rabbits are very easy to care for, they are usually house-trained, can reach an age of up to ten years with good care and only need sufficient hay and water, fresh greens (lettuce, carrots, apples) and enough space.

The costs amount to approx. 10-15 euros per month per animal.

Guinea pigs as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Guinea pigs are very popular with children between the ages of 4 and 14 - but the same rules apply here as for rabbits. They don't like being picked up and carried around and need sufficient space.

Incidentally, a guinea pig is not a suitable partner substitute for a rabbit and vice versa, even if this is repeatedly claimed. These are completely different species that don't know what to do with each other!

Guinea pigs are not always house-trained, but are otherwise also easy to care for and live around 4-8 years - although they can also get significantly older. As with the rabbits, the toilet areas need to be cleaned twice a week.

The costs for feed and vet cost around 10-15 euros per animal and month.

Mouse as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Mice (or rats) are usually very tame and are nice playmates. However, they usually only live to be around two years old, which is why tears are practically inevitable in the offspring.

The cage should be cleaned every other day, otherwise the rodents can smell strong. Mice and rats are relatively uncomplicated and, in addition to hiding places in the cage, only need grain feed and water, some fresh vegetables, fruit and gnawing facilities.

The costs for two mice (keep at least two - mice and rats are absolute group animals and otherwise wither away!) are around 10-15 euros per month.

Golden hamster as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Golden hamsters - or other hamster representatives - are in great demand with children. They are cute, frugal and uncomplicated pets, but they are nocturnal and should therefore not necessarily be in the nursery.

During the day, the small rodents, which are usually loners, are rarely seen - which can be rather frustrating, especially for small children. They are also only 2-3 years old.

The costs a hamster costs around 10 euros per month.

Fish as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Fish are considered to be the easiest to care for "pets" and that is partly true. You do not need any "occupation", just regular feed and clean water, which is created by an automat or filter. Fish are said to have a calming effect.

Nevertheless, keeping fish also requires a certain amount of knowledge so that there are no mass deaths in the aquarium. In the pet shop you should therefore get competent advice and you should also have the first aquarium set up with the help of professionals.

The acquisition cost Depending on the size of the aquarium and the number of plants and fish, they cost 100 euros or more.