Children and animals - A combination that fits
Most children love animals and want a pet of their own. A pet has very positive effects on the children. Unfortunately, the desire for a pet can not always be fulfilled.
A pet is the great desire of many children. You can cuddle them, pet them or romp around with them. It has been proven that children and pets are good for each other. The child-pet relationship fosters many social traits:
- Training of non-verbal communication
- Sense of responsibility
In addition, animals give children confidence in themselves. The animals accept the children as they are. They do not want to educate them. This gives a great confidence and many children prefer to confide their worries to the pet, even if they know they will not get an answer. Some pets sense when a child is sad and then give the child extra attention.
A pet is not a toy
It is also often forgotten by parents that getting a pet is also a commitment. You don't just buy a toy that you can put in the corner at will or dislike. A pet needs retreats, must be kept species-appropriate and respectful, fed regularly and, depending on the animal, also moved. This must be made clear to the children from the beginning. An animal is also work: feeding, walking, cleaning the cage, grooming. The children often get tired of this very quickly and sometimes the parents too. So it happens unfortunately very frequently that domestic animals are simply abandoned, because one is disgusted with them or one does not know where to go with them during the holidays.
Alternatives to your own pet
There are many reasons why you don't want to/can't keep your own pet. Be it because the space is too limited or you don't have enough time or even for cost reasons. There are many possibilities for children to have experiences with animals:
- Regular visits to the zoo. Almost all zoos offer opportunities for children to have direct contact with the animals.
- Looking after animals from neighbours or friends during the holidays. Many pet owners are happy not to have to give their pet to a shelter during the holidays. But be sure to find out about the needs of the pet in question before agreeing to do holiday substitutions.
- Adventure Farm. There are many adventure farms where children can have direct contact with farm animals. In the Swiss Holiday Park there is the Fronalp adventure farm, which is run as a real farm. There are also riding activities for children. Horse riding is very popular with children, very healthy and promotes many qualities that will be beneficial in later adult life.
- Visits to families with pets. This is also ideal for testing whether you are ready for a pet of your own.
- Taking the neighbour's dog for a walk (for younger children, only if accompanied by their parents).
Which pet suits us?
What kind of pet should it be? This question cannot be answered so clearly. What is the living situation like? How much time can I spend on the pet? Do I want an animal I can cuddle or do I want an exotic animal that lives in an enclosure?
Is the environment safe? Can I keep the animal in a species appropriate manner and how much can I spend on the animal (food/veterinarian, etc.)? What will happen to the animal when we go on holiday? If all these questions are answered, then nothing more stands in the way of an acquisition.
Cost factor pet
A pet is a factor in the budget that should not be underestimated. For example, a cat, the most popular pet in Switzerland, costs at least 1200 francs (food and vaccinations at the vet) per year. Initial acquisition costs amount to 600 - 700 francs if you get the animal for free. Otherwise, acquisition costs are added. One must not forget that costs for the veterinary surgeon can easily amount to 2000 francs, if the cat is ill or has an accident. For such cases there are also animal insurances. You can find more information on this topic at Comparis and at the Zürcher Tierschutz.