Sooner or later, your child will ceaselessly ask you for a pet and, sooner or later, you will give in! Before embarking on this animal adventure, consider what type of animal you want to bring home, that is, how much space you need, what daily attention it requires, what costs are involved, if it matches the child’s personality and temperament… The idea is to keep the little one’s fascination with the animal world, so make a conscious choice.
Men’s best friends also look for a good friend in children and because they need affection and play, the small-canine combination usually works very well! Boys are, as a rule, more adept at dogs and it is important to adapt the size of the animal to the size of the child! However, dogs are pets that require a lot of care, that is, in addition to physical space, they need a lot of daily attention (training, feeding, taking to the street, bathing, brushing …). On the other hand, taking care of a dog is an excellent way to teach children important concepts such as responsibility and dedication.
What child doesn’t like a lovely hair ball that’s always ready to give and receive cuddles? Given their calm nature, cats are perfect animals for children, and are usually more appreciated by girls than boys. Homemade animal par excellence, cats live many years and even more if they always live indoors. We only have to pay attention to children who may suffer from allergies and those very active kids who will not have “patience” for such an independent and peaceful animal… and who can retaliate with unpleasant scratches!
An excellent domestic animal for children who have never had one or for very young kids, the fish are practically no trouble, they are beautiful to see and last for many years. In addition, new fish or accessories can be added to the aquarium, always ensuring the child’s interest with these novelties. It is only necessary to be careful to clean the aquarium and not to overfill food – one of the main causes of death of “domestic fish”.
Although colorful, loud and active, the fact that birds live in cages makes them easier to care for, but less interactive. Birds are a good option for children who are really passionate about animals and who will enjoy watching and eventually training them. Cleaning the cage and maintaining water and fresh food are relatively easy tasks to perform and the child can even help with. However, it is important to understand if this will be a novelty quickly forgotten, especially because poultry last for many years, which requires a long-term commitment.
It may seem like an unreasonable option, but it is not, especially if you live in a house or farm with pleasant outdoor spaces. The attraction between children and rabbits is inexplicable and instantaneous, but although these animals are very fond of jumping and running, they are extremely delicate. The way you catch and play with this animal has to be very cautious, not least because they are natural rodents. Additionally, rabbits require some time spent outside their cage every day … in order to stretch their paws! It is not a pet for everyone, but whoever has it wants nothing else.
These or other small rodents – such as gerbils, guinea pigs or even domestic mice – are a good pre-dog or cat experience. Why? Because they are small and are confined to a cage, while still being interactive and playful! The greatest care to be taken is cleaning the cage, handling it (they are sensitive to touch) and making sure that the hamster does not run away, something that they normally take advantage of at the first opportunity! Hamsters also have a particularity, being nocturnal animals, they are usually awake at night and sleeping during the day; however, many hamsters end up adapting to the family’s environment and habits.
It is not really a pet, but there are many … and fortunately they are confined to a safe container, which does not bring with it great concerns. On the other hand, an ant colony can be a huge source of entertainment and learning for children – more boys than girls – especially for those who show particular interest in the sciences. Just be careful with the location of the colony, to avoid falls … and ants everywhere!
As a general rule, it is not recommended that children aged 5 years or less have a reptile as a pet, that is, iguanas, turtles, snakes, lizards and geckos are natural carriers of the salmonella bacteria that is easily transmitted to man, causing illness. In addition to requiring a lot of care, some of which are quite specific, reptiles are not animals that like to be caught and hugged, in fact they do not require any kind of play. Additionally, they are animals that have a very long life expectancy, requiring long-term devotion and, preferably, by older people who can properly appreciate the species.