When choosing the right pet for your child a lot of thought and research should go into your choice. A lot of people go visit the pet store, buy a puppy or a bunny or a hampter and realize it is not the right kind of pet for the family. Unfortunately this usually doesn't end well for the new pet.
As the parent it is important that you make this decision, not the child. If it were up to your child, they would probably opt for a polar bear... LOL !
I have broken down the types of pets that would be a good fit for your child. But remember, handing over the responsibilities of owning a pet to a young child will not work. This is a family decision and the family should all help in taking care of your new pet.
- We don't call them our best friends for nothing. Loyal and loving, dogs are social animals who thrive on being upstanding members of their families.
- If there are young kids in the house, a puppy may not be your your best bet. Instead, try a medium-sized dog over five months of age.
- Don’t forget to draw up a schedule of who in the family will do what—walking, playing, feeding and grooming.
- Graceful, athletic, playful, sensitive and affectionate, felines are the most popular pet in the United States today and stand high on the cuddle scale.
- Cats are not like dogs, and can be very independent.
- If you've done your research and decided on a cat of an appropriate age for your household, visit your shelter and be sure to have your new friend spayed or neutered!
- Playful, cheery and chirpy, this little charmer is the most popular avian companion. He's gentle and funny, can be readily tamed to sit on your shoulder, and makes a perfect first bird for the young members of the family.
- Birds can be messy….really messy. You'll need to clean the cage and surrounding area daily. Also, keep in mind that not all budgies talk, even though they have the capability.
- A budgie is a great choice if you've got your heart set on an avian mimic but don't have the time, money or space for a larger member of the parrot family.
- Got allergies, limited space and/or lean towards the exotic? Although fish are relatively low maintenance, there's a definite science to keeping them and their environment healthy—hence their appeal to big-brained types who get a kick out of seeing the nitrogen cycle at work.
- If you’re looking for a pet who will follow you around, lick your face and play fetch, a finned friend is probably not for you.
- Get all of your equipment beforehand, do your research and know what species are safe to keep together. If you've done your homework, you probably know that common goldfish can live for more than 10 years if properly cared for!
- They're not pigs and they're not from New Guinea, but these cuddle bugs are the most docile of all companion rodents. Under adult supervision, guinea pigs are excellent first pets for children.
- These little critters aren't the kind of pets you can passively watch through the bars of the cage. They need time out to exercise every day.
- Fun for the whole family, social GPs are great in pairs, just be sure you have adequate housing for them. And do your reading—these guys have special dietary needs!
- Off the cuteness charts, hamsters are busy little rodents who are very popular with kids and great pets for apartment dwellers.
- Did you know that hamsters sleep during the day and are active at night?
- You’re ready for a hamster if you're a night owl and/or won't be bothered by your pet eating, digging and running on his wheel in the wee hours. P.S. Syrian hamsters are solitary and must be kept alone. Dwarf hamsters are more social and can be housed together, so make sure you know what species you’re bringing home.
- They can be trained to use the litter box, they'll come when called, and their all-time favorite activities are to dig and chew. Who knew? The sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy rabbit can be a great pet for the right family.
- Rabbits can’t live outdoors! Outside, rabbits can die of fright and are susceptible to diseases spread by ticks and other parasites.
- If you've done the research and understand exactly what rabbits need—big-time digging and chewing—then you’re ready for a cotton-tailed friend. Be sure to have your new bun spayed or neutered.