Blog Post

Pets and children

If you have a baby and are thinking of getting a pet or if you have a pet and your baby is on the way (or plans) – this article is for you!

Although when choosing a pet, we tend to choose the beauty and sympathy of a particular species or breed of animal, this should not be our only criterion. To choose the right animal, one should consider the personality, health, longevity, intelligence of the animal, and our ability to meet all the needs of the animal.

Dogs and cats are still the most common pets, and less frequently are pets, rabbits and rodents (hamsters and guinea pigs). These types of animals are domesticated, which means that their ancestors have lived alongside humans for thousands or hundreds of years, and in doing so, those who have been well placed in the human environment have been selected. In contrast, parrots and reptiles belong to wild animal species. They are gentle because they grow up with humans, but according to genetics, they are the same as their relatives living in the wild. Domesticated animal species are a better choice for pets for children.

Positive effect of pets on children

Today it is well known that growing up with a pet for children is very desirable and has a positive impact on physical and mental health. But for a child to develop a quality relationship with an animal, the parent must take responsibility, especially when it comes to children under 10 years of age.

It is best when a parent already has experience with the type of animal he or she wants for their child. Furthermore, information on the needs and behavior of the species to which the pet belongs should always be sought in advance.

In addition, the parent must be aware that he or she is in charge of the animal. With his example, he must show the child how to care for the animal and how to treat the animal.

Children’s behavior is different from that of adults, and therefore animals should also be socialized in the company of children. So, if we know that an animal is well-behaved and appropriately behaved in the company of adults, it is desirable – but not enough to make sure that they will behave the same when it comes to children.

If a parent fails to pay attention to building a quality relationship between the child and the pet, there are a number of problems that can arise. Both children and animals can experience trauma, be seriously injured or even dead. Regardless of how animals can be transformed today, the parent should think about what kind of experience and lessons they will give to the child.

How to prepare a pet for the baby’s arrival?

The preparation should start several months before the baby arrives!

If your pet has a behavioral problem, start solving it beforehand. The fastest way is to seek the help of a behavior consultant. However, be aware that you will have to work to resolve this issue for some time, as creating habits takes both humans and animals. The most common behavioral problems that you urgently need to start addressing are aggression, possessiveness, fear, frequent voting, doing emergency work at home,…

Additionally, take your pet to a full medical examination with a veterinary doctor before the baby arrives. You don’t want a pet to have a health problem that will make him nervous. In addition, you want to be absolutely sure that the pet will not transmit some zoonosis to the baby.

During the time ahead, gradually reduce the amount of attention (time) you give your pet. For example, if you have dogs and do some dog sports, do not expect your pet to train intensively one day, and then rest for the next few months. If you have your morning rituals of pampering, saying goodbye when you go to work, or returning, be sure your schedule will change when your baby arrives. Don’t let a pet think that the arrival of a baby has changed his world for the worse – start with the changes before the baby.

Finally, prepare your pet for sounds like a baby crying, the smells of baby products, and the appearance of a baby (a doll may be of use). If one of your friends or relatives has a baby, watch your pet behave when the baby arrives, and try to make the pet’s arrival fun, enjoyable, and comfortable.

Then, the arrival of a baby can also mean a new apartment/house arrangement. Watch where you move your aquariums and cages – animals can be very sensitive to this. If you are moving a toilet from a cat, rabbit or work item – do it gradually: move it slightly to a new location. In doing so, keep an eye on how the animal accepts it, or don’t be surprised to find that it did the emergency in the wrong place.

If pets are allowed on the bed, start exercising beforehand so that they do not go to the bed on which you will be placing the baby. This can be important for the safety of both baby and pet. If all goes well, you can easily go back to old. But in the beginning – be careful.

As you reduce time and activities with your pet, get him toys so he doesn’t get bored. Interactive toys that will catch your pet’s attention are especially good. Find a person to deal with if necessary. This may be necessary for very active pets and very intelligent ones, such as some dog breeds and some species of large parrots. You will also need to gradually introduce this person into the company of your pet, so start on time.

dogs

The day the baby arrives at the home where the pet already lives

When you enter the house, say goodbye to your pet in the usual way, and allow the hairy man to smell you – the feathered scent does not matter. In doing so, have another adult hold the child. Then, allow the hairy man to smell the baby’s things.

If everything goes smoothly, you can allow the hairy pet to smell the baby’s feet as well. But do not bring the animal closer to the child’s head. Again, this is just a caution at the beginning, later everything can be easier.

Always monitor your interactions and reward your pets for nice behavior. This is how it will be until the child is 10 years old! The general recommendation is that only children 10 years of age or older can be left unattended with animals.

For any indication of aggression, take your baby out of the room and seek expert advice!

Which pet is best for your family?

Children should be taught to treat the animals peacefully, quietly and tenderly. If children are very excited, they should be removed from the animals. The relationship must be fun and rewarding, not painful and scary. In humans, the expression of love is hugging, but this is not so for animals. In addition to squeezing them can hurt and scare them, this may have a different meaning in communication (eg dogs) in some animal species. Then, it is important that children are not brought into the face of animals – this is what happens when children want to kiss an animal. But the animal may interpret it differently, and injure the child’s face. In that case, neither the child nor the animal can be blamed – the only culprit is the adult who needed to supervise the relationship!

Pets must be able to move away from children when they wish.

It is important to teach children not to touch animals when they are sleeping when feeding (or chewing bone or toys), when they are spinning or having cubs when they are stressed, injured or sick, and especially those tied (chain), in a small enclosure space, boxing, car, etc. This is especially important if there are no adults nearby and in hot weather (when animals can be extra nervous).

Dogs and children

Dogs and children

A dog living with children should be well socialized!

You can only take a puppy if you have the time to raise him, you have experience with dogs, you have money for a vet, and you have the time and money to take him to training. A dog or training school must be based on reinforcing the desired (rewarding) behaviors! Namely, dogs that are punished (dressage) can react unpredictably and as such are not good company for children.

Then, choosing the size of the dog will depend on the age of the child. Although parents like to get dogs of small breeds for a child, it is actually better to take a dog of medium size or larger. Children are happy to raise little dogs in the way that dogs do not like, and this causes aggression problems. In addition, some breeds of small dogs are quite nervous, so as such they are not for children at all.

According to personality, the best dogs for children are intelligent, peaceful and of medium energy.

Some breeds have a reputation for being good with children, such as Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Beagle, Boxer, Boston Terrier, Hungarian Vizla, Newfoundlander, etc. However, caution must be exercised because inside the breed, personality may vary and good or poor socialization can be crucial. In addition, the most popular breeds increasingly carry some congenital diseases (genetics), and as such may be undesirable for the company of children. For example, if a dog has sick hips, they may be nervous about pain or a dog with a blunt (too short) muzzle may suffer because they cannot breathe normally. Because of this, some dogs may need to be frequently referred to a veterinarian or even euthanized – which will be a shock to children, rather than a nice experience growing up with a loved pet. So, it is recommended to buy dogs only from proven breeders!

When fostering, it is a good idea to have a dog that has been kept at home, preferably with someone who has children. Shelters can have dogs that have had good experiences with children and will be perfectly socialized – to those who are severely traumatized and not for every foster parent (especially not children). In addition, you can test your dog for typical situations, such as picking up a toy, touching a food bowl, touching all parts of the body, responding to a baby’s stroller,… However, it should be noted that the behavior of a sheltered dog may differ from the behavior of a dog. the dog comes to a new home – this change can be for the better and worse. If you decide to take up residence, take the advice of shelter staff!

Cats and children

Cats and children

A cat who will live with children should be well socialized. According to the personality, the cat that can best match children is the one who can make loud noises and sudden movements, is sociable, loves to touch and cuddle, is not prone to nibbling and grasping, is calm and adaptable. It should always be taken into account that a cat who is not greasy and does not like noise will be unhappy in the company of a child, which can lead to other behavioral problems (aggression, pissing around the house, etc.).

Some of the breeds that are considered to be a better match for children are Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese, Burmese, Maine Coon and Ragdoll. Again, it should be emphasized that personality within breeds can vary! Cats should always be purchased from approved breeders only.

When fostering, it is best to adopt an adult cat that is already known to have the above characteristics. Children endure poorly when kittens scratch and bite, and for kittens, this is a natural behavior and a stage in growing up that they have to go through. Therefore, they should not be punished. So, when fostering, take a younger cat, but not a small kitten. Be sure to heed the advice of the staff of the association from which you adopt the cat.

Rabbits and childrenRabbits and children

Although rabbits have the notion that they are ideal for children, this is not always the case. First of all, rabbits also need to be well socialized to be able to live happily with children.

Generally, larger rabbit breeds are calmer than smaller breeds. But rabbits are naturally timid and can be very scared of children. A scared rabbit in fear can hurt a baby.

Given that rabbits can be bought at pet stores, it is important to know that this is very risky. Namely, when shopping in a store, he cannot see in what conditions the rabbits were bred, how they lived with the breeders – and this is crucial for good socialization.

Rodents and children

Popular pets are hamsters and guinea pigs. They are beautiful and playful, which is why they are a favorite choice for children and parents. However, these animals are small and fragile, so it is important to be careful not to hurt them. In fear of humans, rodents bite. When they arrive at their new home, rodents need a gentle touch and socialization.

The incisor teeth grow all their life and they must have something to bite to wear. Rodents need to have hay and different toys in the cage, and it is important to clean the cage regularly. In addition, rodents must have opportunities to move and play outside the cage.

While we humans are active during the day, hamsters prefer sleeping by day and need their peace of mind. They are active at night. Most hamster species will enjoy the company of people more than the company of other hamsters. When out of the cage, they can handle the emergency somewhere along the way. Hamsters live 2-3 years. Care should be taken when shopping at pet stores as some hamsters can be ill-health when they come to the store as pups.

Guinea pigs are playful pets that are fun to deal with. They like to live with other guinea pigs. They are known for their voting: sizzling, spinning, squawking. They live for 4-6 years.

Parrots and children

It’s important to know that parrots are not domesticated animals! Although not allowed, large parrots can still be brought in from nature, which means they can bring in some diseases that are not common in our country.

There are several things to consider when deciding whether to get a parrot. First of all, one should know that some parrot species live a very long time – up to 100 years! According to the personality, parrots are very loud, intelligent, jealous, aggressive, anxious, and can bond with one family member more than others. Then, they are quite messy, that is, there will be feathers, food and feces all over the house. However, they must be able to fly freely around the house.

The parrots of tigers, nymphs, Bourke parrots and Rozekolis parrots may be the most appropriate for children.

Reptiles and children

Like parrots, reptiles are not domesticated animals. In addition, they are not social animals, which means that they do not form emotional bonds or hierarchical relationships with other living beings.

You should know that a non-toxic snake can bite if scared. In addition to the bite is painful, the wound can be infected (because the snake does not maintain mouth hygiene).

Reptiles grow all their lives, and some (eg turtles) can live very long, even for decades.

This is why reptiles are not for young children.

In conclusion, children always want to have pets, but the parent must take responsibility and decide. Pets are sentient beings and cannot be bought and donated as things. Obtaining a pet should be a common project through which the child receives moral instruction. Unfortunately, rejecting a pet is also about teaching children certain behavior. Therefore, pets for the benefit of both children and pets should be carefully selected!

 

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