Are your kids begging you for a new pet, but you’re worried you, and they won’t be able to take care of it? It’s a valid concern, but having a treasured childhood pet can be so good for children, teaching them about responsibility, care and ultimately death and there are many pets which are perfect for children who want an animal friend of their own.
Check out these great suggestions for kid friendly pets the whole family will fall in love with:
Birds make beautiful pets. They’re bright, colourful and generally good natured. If you’ve never looked after birds before, you should probably start with no more than two and go for an easy to look after breed like a canary or cockatiel. Watching them fly around, ruffle their feathers and sing can be a joy for anyone of any age and taking care of them is a simple as changing their food and water daily and cleaning out the cage weekly.
One thing to be in mind is that many boards are easily spooked, and may be more appropriate for older children than young kids who aren’t exactly calm!
Hamsters, along with gerbils and mice, make a great first pet. They don’t require much to be happy, they’re cute, and they can be very sociable once they get used to. Of course, they are also very small and delicate, and they’re great escape artists, so you will need to make it clear to your children just how important it is to handle them with care and ensure their cage is closed when they’re done playing.
Smaller lizards can make really great pets for children of all ages, providing you start out with a low-maintenance breed like a bearded dragon or gecko. These lizards do not grow too big, like iguanas and monitor lizard do, and they are pretty laid back, so even if your children get a bit too carried away, it is unlikely that there will be any major incidents in the household.
If you buy an infant lizard, it might be wise if you take on the bulk of the care duties until they’re a bit bigger because they’re a little more vulnerable when they’re very young. It’ll also give you a chance to teach your kids what they’ll need to do when they take over care of their lovely lizard.
If your children are still really young, allowing them to get hands-on with a pet might not be in anyone’s best interests, but buying a goldfish or two that they can look after will get them use to feeding and taking care of an animal and they’ll have a surprisingly good time just watching little Nemo swim around his tank.
Rats get a bad rap thanks to their wild trash eating, disease carrying cousins, but domestic rats are beautiful, intelligent creatures that are easy to look after and which offer heaps of affection to their carers. They’re also really clean! If you do buy a rat, make sure you supervise younger children playing with them for their own safety. Your child should be fine because rats almost never bite unless they are being mistreated. They do need a lot of out-of-the-cage play, though.
For some reason, guinea pigs are less popular than the likes of mice and hamsters, but they’re every bit as cute and just as easy to take care of. What’s more, they’re pretty intelligent and can be engaged in games of hide and seek and find the food. They’ll even squeal in delight when you go to visit them. The only possible drawback is that they prefer to live in pairs, so you would need to get two, but you’ll fall so in love with them that you won’t even care.
Cats often come into criticism for having sharp claws and a cavalier attitude to their human servants, but if you choose a friendly intelligent breed like the Chartreux cat and you choose an older animal, it and your child will get along great. Just set some ground rules and teach them what it is and isn’t appropriate to do when playing with a c at and you’ll be good to go. Cats are a great compromise if your kid wants a dog because they can be played with in a similar way, but they are much more independent, so you won’t have to invest as much time in looking after them.
A Rescue Dog
Rescuing an older dog will not only give them a new lease of life and get them out of what can be a sad situation for the animal, but it will also mean that you don’t have to go through the awkward training phase that is required when you have a new puppy. Older dogs are generally calmer, easier to get along with and even more overjoyed to spend time with their new owners, but you should never buy a dog lightly. As well as choosing a suitable breed for your family, you should remember that dogs need to be walked, played with grooming and taken to the vets regularly. Don’t make the commitment unless you and your child are dedicated to looking after that precious pooch for the rest of its life.
Okay, so ants aren’t exactly cute, and they’re definitely not cuddly, but they require almost no maintenance whatsoever, and watching them go about their business can be strangely captivating. If your child is into science and nature, buying them, an ant farm will give them endless hours of delight, and you won’t have to deal with any mess. If you do buy your kids an ant farm and they’re still very young, you should help them to set it up if you don’t want to risk your home being overrun with the little critters.
Rabbits are beautiful animals which can be kept as pets indoors or outdoors in a hutch. Most kids are blown away by the cuteness of bunnies, so you’ll be onto a winner if you bring one home, and they require little more than regular food, a little attention and having their habitat cleaned out to stay happy and healthy, so again you won’t have to do much work if you buy your kids a bunny.
Having a crab as a pet might seem a bit odd, but hermit crabs, who get their name from the shells they crawl into, are fascinating creatures, which are cuter than you might think. Looking after a hermit crab means feeding them fresh food and water daily and misting their body to keep it moist. They can be kept in a gravelly tank, which is also low-maintenance too. The one thing you should be aware of is that hermit crabs regularly outgrow their shells and a bigger one will need to be provided. You should make your children aware of this because they are often the ones who will spend the most time observing the animal.
No matter which pet you decide to get your kids, you should always remember that animals are living breathing creatures and they deserve to be treated with the utmost care and kindness. If you are not confident that you and your children can meet all their needs now and for the rest of their life and if there is any chance harm will come to them in your home, please do not buy a pet!