20 Apr, 2024

Pets & Children

6 mins read

Pets promote the emotional, mental and social development of children.

“Mommy, Mommy, I want a dog – or at least a guinea pig or a mouse!” Sooner or later, almost every child is harassing his parents with the desire for a pet. And parents should be happy about it, because the relationship between children and pets has a high educational value.

If a child desires an animal, this is also a sign for its intact mental development. Of course, the little ones promise to walk the dog for hours in all weathers and winds or to keep the guinea pig cage clean and never forget to feed it. But before parents can be elicited a “yes”, they should be aware that even the most animal-loving child is overwhelmed with the care of a living being and the responsibility for the new family member ultimately lies with the adults.

“Children long for a friend and cuddle partner and not for the object to be supplied”, Brigitte Stöber-Harries (59, pedagogue and dog expert) from Hamburg knows. Even if children benefit from their relationship with a pet in many ways and are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility, communication skills, consideration and social competence in a playful way, the pet must not suffer if the little ones do not keep their promises in the end.

Therefore, the purchase of a pet must be considered carefully and should not be done on a whim. Because living animals are not toys that you can throw carelessly into a corner after a short time, but sentient beings for whom you take responsibility over many years.

Think carefully before

First of all, all family members should agree on the purchase of a pet and agree on an animal together. It is very important to clarify with the landlord beforehand whether the keeping of certain pets is allowed at all. The keeping of small animals – like budgerigars, ornamental fish or guinea pigs – cannot be forbidden by the landlord, but with dog or cat many lease contracts contain clauses, which are to be considered.

The acquisition of an animal may seem also still favorable, for the maintenance läppert itself in the course of the years some together. If the holiday comes and the pet cannot be taken along, friends or relatives should be there to look after the pet, because good animal boarding houses are rare and often not cheap.

Also the expenditure of time is not to be neglected: Feeding and occasional stroking alone is not enough. A dog needs his exercise every day; cage, litter box or aquarium must be cleaned regularly and time is needed for coat care, education and the occupation with the feathered or four-legged friend.

It must also be clarified how long one wants to bind oneself to an animal at all. Small animals – such as rats and mice – rarely get older than three years, whereas rabbits can get up to ten years old and dogs or cats even older. Parents should therefore bear in mind that they may still be dog or cat owners when their offspring have long since left the house.

Pets are good for children

Usually a close relationship is established

(dtd). Children often develop a very close relationship with their pet. “It becomes a friend with whom you can walk through thick and thin,” says Brigitte Stöber-Harries (59, teacher and dog expert) from Hamburg. “The dog doesn’t care whether the child wears braces or not. The cat also doesn’t make any stupid remarks about a little overweight and no rabbit has asked for the note in the last dictation.”

“Pre-school children, who grow up with a domestic animal, develop frequently in their whole personality more positively than their age comrades without animals! knows also Professor Reinhold Bergler, chairman of the research circle domestic animals.

Many a computer stool will go for a walk or romp around with its dog to a true nature lover. In addition, pets are often the only reference to the animal world, especially for city children. Children quickly learned to respond to the needs of animals and thus expanded their social competence, which ultimately also has a positive effect on human coexistence. According to Stöber-Harries, dogs and children are very related souls. “They live in the here and now and usually come close to each other in play and explore their limits, so it is enough if the adults are just observers.

Which pet is suitable?

Often parents tend to try a small pet first. It is not too expensive to buy, does not grow very old and also seems to be relatively frugal in terms of maintenance. Stöber-Harries rather advises against this: “Hamsters, for example, are nocturnal animals that prefer to have their rest during the day. But also rabbits and guinea pigs are not toys that the little ones can drag around and cuddle at will.

Especially very small or very lively children can get rough with the animal, so that the new playmate could get biting because of all the fear”. According to the dog expert, dogs or cats are therefore much more suitable even for small children. “The cat will move to a cupboard if the little two-legged friends push it too hard and the dog will already draw attention to itself if the water bowl is not filled or if necessary drink from the watering can”.

How much space does it take the new family member?

(dtd). In pet shops there are cages for rodents and birds, but the animals still need additional exercise or flight facilities in the apartment. Rabbits or parakeets can also be kept outdoors in aviaries or enclosures and can survive the winter there with the appropriate equipment. Cats feel most comfortable with “Freigang”.

But there are also cats, which are happy only in the apartment. This should be however “cat-fairly” – with Kuschelhöhle and scratch tree – arranged. Provided, the dog gets enough run out, then its space requirement is not at all so large in the house or in the dwelling. With a basket, a cuddly blanket and a quiet place to eat, even large dogs are usually satisfied.