Dear Santa, please bring me a pet…

Which parent hasn't ever listened to their offspring's wish to have a pet (and who among us didn't want one as a child?). But not every parent fulfils this wish, resists and hopes that in time it will be forgotten... This is why a pet animal often appears in children's Christmas cards to Santa Claus. In these cases, many parents finally let themselves be „swayed“.

The combination of children and pets is recommended by experts
Are you also thinking about giving in to the insistence of your child and getting a furry friend for your home? Then know that, according to doctors, the combination of a child and an animal in one household is totally ideal and a pet will only have a positive effect on the physical and mental health of your offspring. Children who grow up in the same household with pets are more responsible, less depressed, do not suffer from allergies as much and have a better immune system. The combination of children and animals is therefore highly recommended by experts. 

At what age to get a pet for a child?
If a child does not grow up with animals from birth, according to them, it is a good solution to get them at preschool or younger school age. By postponing the acquisition of an animal until later in school, it can easily happen that a child of ten years and older will already have many other interests and activities, so that even if the animal has long been desired and postponed, the child will no longer be interested in it.

Get a pet when you have time for one
Although animals have a positive influence on children and their psychological development, it is important to mention that parents should not acquire them for their children at any cost. Animals belong only in families where they and the adults have a relationship with them, where they have enough time for them and where they are able and willing to take care of the animal in case of any complications. Children adopt the behaviour of their parents, and if their parents behave inappropriately towards animals, they learn to do the same.
An animal is not a toy and it is not easy to get a living creature for your home. Giving a child an animal as a gift and letting it fend for itself, and if it can't (for example because it is too small and not mature enough), the animal will leave the house, is an inexcusable mistake.

If you don't have a positive relationship with animals and/or if you don't have the right conditions, don't have them at home.

Always consider the abilities of the child you are getting a pet for
Only get pets that are suitable and that the child is able to take care of at least partially, depending on their age and their relationship with animals. A schoolboy can take care of a hamster on his own, but he cannot take full responsibility for the dog he wants.
It is small rodents or dwarf rabbits that most often become the first pets, especially of smaller children. They are less demanding of space, time and money, but they also need our care. Children have their own furry friend and at the same time they learn their duties - for example, to take care of the regular supply of food and water or to clean the cage. We will not ask a preschooler to clean the cage himself, but we can show him how to do it and gradually involve him in helping.
By entrusting children with at least some of the care, we will strengthen not only their responsibility but also their self-esteem, because they will feel important. Children are then better prepared to take care of larger, more demanding animals in the future - for example, a dog or a cat.

The right choice of pet = the basis of satisfaction and relationship with the pet
But even with these "pocket” sized pets, the right choice of pet is the basis for a good relationship and satisfaction of the person and the chosen pet. We should therefore find out as much information as possible about them beforehand. You can find basic information in our overview of the most commonly bred animals.  

Having a pet is a matter of the heart
If you have thought everything through and do not have a serious reason that would preclude its acquisition, do not hesitate and do not delay the acquisition of a pet for children unnecessarily. However, it is worth remembering that for many animals it is not always a good idea to bring them home just for Christmas.
The first few weeks in a new family are crucial, especially for a dog or cat, and largely determine whether they will get along with their new "owner" and environment and feel safe there. However, this can be difficult to achieve in a hectic period when there are visitors, parties or travel at home.

Questions you should ask yourself before getting a pet

Whatever time of year you are considering getting a pet (not just for children), always answer these questions first:

  • Do we have enough time for the animal?
  • Do we have enough adequate space for the animal?
  • Are we willing to let the animal run outside the cage?
  • How often do we travel and who will take care of the animal in our absence (vacation, illness…)?
  • Are we counting not only the costs for food and housing, but also for possible veterinary care for the pet?
  • Anyone in the family allergic to fur?
  • Do we know how old a particular animal is and are we able to care for it for the whole time?
  • Won't we be disturbed by a creature of the night?
  • Don't we already have an animal that could harm the new one, or won't these animals interfere with each other (day and night creature)?

Well, I can't help but wish you a Merry Christmas ♥

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