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How to choose the right pet for your family

to choose the right pet for your family

How do you choose the right pet for your family? There are several factors you must consider, and our guide will outline them for you.

A close relationship with animals can make an important contribution to the emotional development of a child. It learns to empathize with another being, feels whether it is doing badly or well and at best grows into a responsible role. 

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Factors to choose the right pet for your family

Pedagogically, it can make sense to give in to the children’s desire for a pet. But a pet is not a babysitter. It is also not a toy. And no matter how sweet and sweet, an animal is an independent living being that has needs that must be respected. 

Buying pets should always be decided by the family as a whole when you want to choose the right pet for your family. Only if the family can — and wants to — meet the needs of the animal should parents and their children take responsibility for an animal. Therefore, before moving in a new hairy family member, many questions have to be answered: a decision-making aid.

How much responsibility children can take on pets

Animals require attention, care and a lot of time – usually that of the parents. Children cannot and must not take full responsibility for an animal for a long time and must be guided by adults. At best, they gradually grow into their responsible role. When a child is ready to take care of a pet is very individual. Some are eight years old enough to have their own pet, others take longer. In principle, a pet is only recommended for children from the age of five. The main responsibility always lies with the parents.

Small children in particular are not yet able to consider animals as living beings. If a baby tackles the pet like a soft toy, it can be dangerous for both the child and the animal. Even the most responsible children need supervision and guidance on how to handle the animal. Depending on their age and maturity, they may not be able to fully meet the animal’s needs; their own are still very much in the foreground. Many children who make arrangements in advance are not aware of how much work they will have to do. So it often happens that children are totally fond of the new pet at the beginning, but they muck out the barn or go for a walk quickly gets boring.

Dogs need education

Children’s favorite pets are often the most caring-intensive. Small puppies often require as much care as a small baby and they need an education that is hardly inferior to that of a child. Since September 2008, the training requirement for dog owners has been in Switzerland. A theory course must be attended before the dog is bought, and then education courses. Because dogs are pack animals subordinate to a leader, they often have to learn to accept children first.

Most importantly, dogs from the shelter often had a difficult history. If you have not lived your most formative first weeks in a family-friendly way, it is difficult to impossible to develop this quality later. So if you choose a dog from the home, you should be aware of your history.

Pets cost money

At first glance, larger animals like dogs or cats seem more expensive than others. But if you take a closer look, guinea pigs also need a lot of care, feed and accessories. Not only the acquisition costs, but also the possible veterinary costs for castration, vaccinations and diseases must be taken into account. Care should also be taken during the holidays before buying a pet.

Which pet is suitable for children?

Animals are independent living beings with individual needs and characters. Some become trusting and like to cuddle and play, others are rather shy and need rest. That is why there are popular pets, those that are better and those that are less suitable for children.


suitable as a pet for children from 8 years

  • This is what the animal needs: intensive care and education, at least 2 hours a day for exercise, playing
  • The animal offers: interaction and affection, full family member
  • Life expectancy: up to 15 years


suitable as a pet for children from 5 years

  • the animal needs it: scratching post, litter box, retreat, lookout point, birth control, house cats should be kept by at least two people
  • the animal offers: interaction, can become a trusting cuddly animal
  • Life expectancy: up to 20 years

Guinea pigs, hamsters

suitable as a pet for children from 5 years

  • the animal needs it: several animals, birth control, large cage, retreat, free run
  • the animal offers: can be tame, but guinea pigs do not like to cuddle, rather an interesting animal to observe and clean the enclosure
  • Life expectancy: 6-10 years


only partially suitable as a pet for children

  • the animals need it: large cage, outdoor keeping, several animals, birth control
  • the animals offer: can be tame
  • Life expectancy: 8-10 years

Mice and rats

suitable as a pet for children from 5 years

  • the animals need it:  several animals, a large cage, birth control, rats are also nocturnal and need free-range and places of retreat
  • this is what the animal offers: mice can be tame, rats can also be trusting
  • Life expectancy: 2 to 6 years


only partially suitable as pets for children

  • this is what the animal needs: every type of fish has different needs, but everyone needs their own kind, aquarium, birth control
  • the animal offers: passive observation, interesting group behavior
  • Life expectancy: up to 20 years

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