As a parent, you may hear those famous words from your child: “I want a pet.” You may know that caring for a pet can be a rewarding and satisfying experience and can help give your child increased responsibilities and a reliable animal friend.
If you’re thinking about getting a pet for your child, here are seven kid-friendly pets to consider.
Guinea pigs are cute and cuddly and are known to be popular pets for kids as they are small and manageable. Guinea pigs are calm, adorable, and don’t require high maintenance. They do require weekly cage cleaning to stay healthy, but guinea pigs are great to cuddle with and will vocalize their wants and needs to your child. For example, as the guinea pig becomes settled into their new environment, they will be vocal when they want a treat or when their favorite human is around.
Guinea pigs love being around humans and will interact and engage with the child. Children can learn how to safely handle a guinea pig, how to actively keep the cage clean, and provide the guinea pig with fresh salad, hay, and pellets. Guinea pigs have a lifespan of 4-8 years and are a moderate commitment in terms of life span.
A mouse can make an excellent pet for children. Mice tend to bond with their owners and are very loving animals. Mice need to be on a schedule, and this can help your child understand scheduling and caring for a pet. As mice need to be fed on a schedule, feeding the mouse before or after school will help the child understand the needs of an animal.
Mice can be joyous for children, as they are affectionate pets and love interactions with their humans. Mice can show excitement when around their human by cuddling and playing.
Pet mice also love to be involved in activities such as getting vegetables, climbing, and chewing toys. Children can help create mazes for their pet mouse to help further the pet’s development. Mice only live about three years resulting in a shorter commitment.
Birds such as canaries or parakeets can make excellent pets, as they need to be handled a lot. However, birds do much better in a flock, so it’s important to get more than one bird. Birds can be a little skittish when put in a new environment, but once they are familiar with the surroundings, they will sing and they are fun to watch.
A bird such as a canary or parakeet is a great option for children who do not want to handle a pet that often and would rather watch the animal. Birds do need to be kept safe, away from other animals and exterior elements as they can fly. Birds do have a longer lifespan with an average of 10-15 years and with proper attention and care, a bird can make a great family addition.
Rabbits are great for older kids who want to be very involved in an animal’s care. Rabbits are loving and gentle but do require extra care as they can nip, jump, and injure themselves. They need to be handled with a child with a calm demeanor.
Rabbits require low maintenance and are great starter pets. They are social animals and love attention. Rabbits can easily be bathroom trained, can do tricks, and enjoy the company of others. Since rabbits make better pets for older kids, they can be more involved in the care such as litter box cleaning, feeding, and bedding. Rabbits do have a longer lifespan with the average being 8-12 years requiring a long-time family commitment.
Cats are larger animals that do require a bit more commitment from the child and family. Cats can be great pets but require consistency for home training and litter box training and can be a bit more costly than smaller pets. Make sure to get a reliable and sturdy cat litter box so that waste isn’t spilled all over the place.
Children can actively participate in the care of a cat, including feeding, watering, cleaning, and changing the litter box. Cats do require a long-term commitment as most cats live well over 10 years.
Just as with cats, dogs require more commitment from the child and family as dogs require more responsibility, time, and extra money. Dogs can be a great companion and can help the child learn responsibility, training, brushing, and how to care for the animal. Dogs do require a long-term commitment as many dogs can live over 10 years.
Another great option for older children is a bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are a unique pet that does require extra care and maintenance. Bearded dragons hardly ever bite, and they enjoy eating a variety of food but do need to be kept in a large tank with heat to regulate their body temperature.
Bearded dragons love to be held and interact with their human. They are best suited for a child who wants to actively engage with their pet. Children can learn how to care for a bearded dragon by playing an active role in the care such as tank cleaning, feeding, socializing, and providing enrichment to the bearded dragon.
Due to the unique care bearded dragons need such as an insect diet and special lighting, they tend to be more expensive. Bearded dragons do require a longer commitment as most live 5-8 years.
Pets can be great for children, as being a pet owner helps them learn responsibility and how to care for something. Not only do children learn from pets, but pets can also bring comfort to children if they suffer from depression or anxiety. Nevertheless, consider this list of pets and choose the one that will be the best fit for your family.