Table of contents
They are like bees and honey, like chocolate sauce with ice cream or spaghetti with cheese: children and animals are two things that attract each other and somehow belong together. All kids are magically attracted to animals like cats, dogs and small rodents. No wonder: with their soft fur and habits that are fun to watch, pets provide ample reason to love them.
Almost every child wants to have a pet in their home at some point during their childhood. If his eyes fall on the clumsy little paws of a stray kitten, the temptation is great to simply take the four-legged friend home.
However, many moms and dads have no joy with this. They say things like, “Oh, it’s just work,” “Dogs stink,” or “We can’t afford that.” Why are adults, such killjoys? Well, for one thing, because a pet brings a lot of responsibility. On the other hand, sometimes high costs come together when the animal needs special food, has to go to the vet or even has an operation. Unlike humans, there is no health insurance for animals that covers such costs.
Unforeseen veterinary expenses – this is one of the most common reasons for people to abandon their pet. It’s hard to believe that people are capable of doing this to their once beloved pets.
That’s exactly why you should really think twice about whether you want a pet and can afford the cost.
The Legal Side
If you are thinking about getting a pet, please consider the following:
- Does anyone in your family have an allergy to a certain type of animal?
- Will you have enough time to take care of it?
- What will happen to the pet when your family goes on vacation?
- Is there enough space in your apartment or house for the animal to really feel comfortable?
In principle, there is nothing to prevent children from having pets. On the contrary, taking on tasks and responsibility for a living creature is an important experience in the process of growing up.
Can I Buy A Pet?
However, it is not up to you alone to decide whether an animal will live with you or not. Your parents always have the final say. Therefore, strictly speaking, you are not allowed to buy an animal in a pet store or by advertisement if your parents do not agree.
You can also expect that the pet store will not give you an animal if your parents are not present or if you do not bring a signed consent form.
It is the same at the animal shelter. Nowadays you even have to sign a contract with which the shelter protects itself against the animal not being returned soon and left alone. For this purpose, you also have to pay a “protection fee”. This is usually over 200€.
What If I Get A Pet As A Gift?
In local newspapers there are often ads like: “Give away kittens.”. These are usually farm animals. These are mixed-left cats and dogs that are in no way “worse” than breeding animals.
Nevertheless, you should refrain from picking up a pet based on such an ad without first talking to your parents about it and getting their permission.
The following applies to the acceptance of gifts: You may receive gifts. However, only as long as they do not entail any consequential costs. In this case, you would have to talk to your parents.
Since animals always (!) bring follow-up costs with them, this also applies to them, of course.
What An Animal Needs
Just like a human child, a puppy needs many things to be completely satisfied. Cuddles make him happy, but unfortunately they are not enough to keep him species-appropriate. Your dog wants a place for life. He wants to have you as an owner and not be given away to the local animal shelter when the work with him becomes too much for you.
Therefore, it is important that you consult well with your parents. Who will pay what costs? Which tasks will you take on, where will your parents support you? Will, you still be interested in the animal when it has grown twice or three times as big and no longer looks as cute as before?
To make your decision easier, we have summarized below everything you should consider when getting a pet. Be aware that dogs and ponies need a lot of affection and are much more expensive to keep than, for example, a hamster. If you don’t have any experience keeping a pet, it may be better to try a small animal first. These include all kinds of mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, degus, and chinchillas. Reptiles are also small, but they need a very specific climate in their terrarium, so they are not for beginners. Greek tortoises may be cute because of their size. But in order for them not to get diseases, you need a large fund of background knowledge about keeping them in a species-appropriate way.
This is what every pet needs:
Time, Affection And Love
Every pet needs time to be cared for. A guinea pig is already satisfied if you regularly muck out its stable and provide sufficient water and food. Cats, dogs and horses are more demanding.
They want to be petted and entertained. Cats are quite reserved, but still need play and fun sometimes. Each animal has its own character. For example, a sweet kitten may develop into a bright rascal who constantly walks all over you when he feels neglected. So please don’t assume that all cats are low maintenance and need little attention!
Most kids underestimate the amount of work that comes with having a dog. Because unlike the cat, he doesn’t go to the bathroom by himself. You have to take him out every few hours to let him relieve himself. In addition, the dog needs at least one extensive walk per day, so that he can live out his movement instinct. This means that you should set aside about an hour every day to walk your dog. Also, keep in mind that the animal will get stronger as it gets older. Mixed breeds carry the risk that you can’t estimate how big and strong they will actually get when they are full grown. Ask yourself if you can handle a large dog and train it to not be a danger to other people.
Dogs and horses need “schooling.” They need to learn to get their strength under control. That’s the only way you can stand them in the long run. Because: Imagine your dog does and lets what he wants. He nibbles your parents’ furniture, jumps in front of your bike and leaves dog poop in front of your bed. This is still sweet with a small puppy and is forgiven. Later, however, such things can wear on the nerves. That’s why dogs need to be taken to a dog school, where you can practice important commands and behaviors with other dog owners and trainers.
The dog school also gives your charge the opportunity to get plenty of exercise. This gets him going and provides variety.
Long-haired dogs as well as cats need special grooming. Comb them regularly to reduce the amount of hair that ends up in their digestive tract. This will prevent defecation problems and do your pet some good. Dogs that don’t get much exercise need regular nail care. Use claw nippers to trim the claws. However, try not to damage the blood vessels in the process.
Food And Medication
Whether canned or dry food, high quality products cost quite a bit of money. To get a better idea of the cost for your pet, check out your local pet store before you buy to get a feel for the ongoing costs. How much does the food for your pet cost? How long will one package last you? Ask yourself these questions and then talk to your parents about it to show them that you are serious about the issue.
Cats and dogs need to be dewormed regularly. They also need anti-flea medication to protect your home from a flea epidemic. Every now and then your pet will get sick, then it’s time to take it to the vet! Because animals cannot speak, animal diseases are quite difficult for us to assess. You cannot know if it is something serious or if the symptoms will disappear by themselves. Therefore, please always take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If your animal is prescribed medication, you will have to pay not only the veterinary costs but also the medication costs.
Young animals are usually not spayed or neutered. Offspring is sweet, but brings a lot of problems with it. So that you do not risk any offspring that ends up in the animal shelter, you should definitely neuter your kitten or puppy. This also costs a lot. Depending on the type of surgery you have to calculate with 100 to 300 €.
Animals from the shelter have the advantage that they are vaccinated, chipped, dewormed and castrated. The protection fee that you have to pay for an animal from the shelter is usually around 200 €. This is much less than was previously spent on the animal. So if the budget for the pet is low, you should consider whether an animal from the shelter is for you. Don’t forget that you are creating a home for another homeless animal.
Toys And Other Accessories
Animals need stimulation, variety and opportunities to play. Much of this you can make yourself. If you want, you can read up on them on the internet. For many dog and cat toys, you just need things that you have lying around at home anyway.
Some things like brushes or claw nippers you will have to buy though. Dogs need a harness, collar and leash. Keep in mind that prong collars (with spiked thorns inside) and choke collars are illegal and cause the dog not only suffering but significant health damage. Sometimes a muzzle is required. For the car, you need a dog guard or a special seat belt device for dogs.
Cats need a transport box to be brought safely to the vet.
Courses, Training And Co.
As mentioned earlier, you will need to plan for a lot of time spent with a dog at dog school. Joining a dog club is not free, you have to pay an annual fee. The individual trainings also cost money. Check with a dog training facility nearby to find out what the costs would be before you get a dog.
It is not only the dog that needs training. If you’ve never had a dog or cat before, it’s worth picking up a few books. In them you will find great insider tips that will make it easier for you to understand your four-legged friend and to get rid of unpleasant habits. In such guides you will also find a lot of information about legal matters concerning dogs and cats.
Dogs and cats usually have a vaccination record, in which it is recorded exactly which treatment the animal has received and when. Also record when you dewormed the animal. Don’t forget to make regular booster appointments with the vet to avoid serious illnesses and nasty bugs.
Don’t have a vaccination record for your pet yet? Check with your vet to get a free vaccination record.
Worksheet For The Text
1) Can you buy a pet or get one from a shelter without your parents’ permission? Explain your answer in detail.
2) You would get a small puppy as a gift from a friend. Can you accept it? Explain why this is so.
3) No matter if rodent, cat or dog: they all need care. What all is needed to keep the animal happy and healthy?