“I believe that a pet should never be taken just for the sake of a child. The responsibility always lies with the parent(s) and they should always be supervised. So the parents themselves must be in contact with the animal and take care of it. As an owner, you must provide the living conditions for the animal that You meet her needs. And you have to spread that responsibility and pass it on to your children. This is ageless, and this is possible at any age for a child.”
Make sure your child does not see care as a daily obligation, but as a natural responsibility that you give him so much in return.
What do you look for to determine if a child is “ready” for a pet? “Kids should be able to follow parental guidelines,” Gurney says. “This means one hundred percent adherence to the rules and conventions. Not grasping means not grasping, and not running behind doesn’t mean running behind.”
Haverlag says children can also be involved in pet care at an early age if they are properly supervised by parents or guardians. “Teach children in a playful way how to care for an animal. Children should learn that animals, like humans, need food, drink and exercise.”
“Make sure your child does not see caring for a pet as one of the many daily obligations,” adds Gurney, “but as a natural responsibility that you give him/her a lot in return. Think of the daily rituals when you give rabbits hay together or before bed, check if rabbits have Enough water and whether the cage is properly sealed.”
Are some animals more suitable as pets for children? “It’s generally hard to decide which pets are right for kids. It depends on the kids’ energy level and obedience. But each animal is also an individual with its own temperament and personality,” Haverlag says.
“A dog can be a nice addition to a family, but it is difficult to identify ‘baby-friendly’ breeds. There are somewhat suitable breeds or types. Cats and children often get along well. Children of other races.”
“Rabbits and ferrets are often bought for children, especially because of their cuddly appearance. Unfortunately, rabbits are often euthanized because children are no longer looked after or because the animal is disappointed.”
Parents always take ultimate responsibility for the pet, emphasizing both Haverlag and Gorny. “Parents should supervise lovingly, if necessary, using tools such as kitchen gates, crates, or separate catrooms,” says Gurney.
“It is not wrong to assign responsibility to the child, but expectations should correspond to the age and capabilities of the child. Needless to say, it is also important for the animal itself to always be well looked after. And not just at the beginning, or if one has time for it,” emphasizes Haverlag .