Best Pets for Small Children
Pets for Kids
As a child of parents who aren't real big pet lovers, on the exception of dogs, had a hard time convincing my them to let me bring home anything but dogs.
Maybe you don't want to bring home a dog for your five year old. Very understandable. I mean dogs are big responsibility and the entire house must be ready for the commitment.
So, what is another pet you can get your animal loving child that won't put the marjority of the responsibility on you?
Easy. I can think of a few.
But, remember that all pets call for responsibility, and you can't just leave a young child solely in control. Make sure to remind the child to clean the cage or feed the pet.
I've listed very basic information about a few pets that are great child's pets. It's up to you to determine which is best for your child. Do plenty of research and buy a book before you make your final decision.
Hamster are usually sold to unsuspecting parents as a "great pet for kids." Well, although partly true, this isn't 100% accurate.
Hamsters are small so they do take up less space than most other pets, but because they are small, they can be injured easily. In the small hands of children, hamsters can be easily dropped or squeezed.
And, being nocturnal, they may be less inviting to play with and interact for small children who want to play during the day. Hamsters are most interactive at night.
Plus, hamsters take a little longer to socialize than other animals. This means that they can be nippy for a while, so you have to consider if your child gets bit will he want to play with the hamster again? Or will you be finding a new home for Hammy?
Once socialized, hamsters can make friendly pets, but it's the socializing that's the key.
Remember that you will need to monitor all playtimes, so that the hamster doesn't end up free roaming your house.
Guinea pigs are a small pet that most people don't think about for kids, but when compared to hamsters, guinea pigs are perfect pets for children.
They are a medium sized small, pet, which means if dropped from a five- year old's hand, he will take the hit a little better than a hamster. Guinea pigs aren't as fragile as hamsters, so you don't have to worry about the child hurting the guinea pig unless he's literally throwing it around.
Guinea pigs to require a larger cage than a hamster, but nothing elaborate, which makes cleaning so much easier. You don't have to worry about all the little tubes and wheels. Just a house, food bowls, and a water bowl. Nothing fancy.
As per temperament, guinea pigs are even tempered. It doesn't take nearly the socializing to make a fun- to- be- around guinea pig.
Remember that with guinea pigs, you'll need to supplement their diet with oranges and other Vitamin C- rich fruits and vegetables in addition to Vitamin C drops with their water bowl.
Although, guinea pigs require a little more care, they are by far better pets for smaller children.
Pet rats make great pets, regardless what you may be thinking. They are docile, social, and just plain sweet.
Rats do better in larger cages with at least one cage mate, so make sure that you have the room for a medium sized cage.
Don't think, "Are you serious not one but two!" Two rats won't be any more trouble than one. It's actually easier.
Pet rats are easy to socialize and fun to train. Like the guinea pig, the fancy rat will bite seldom, and unlike the hamster, they aren't as fragile.
If you're thinking "if they're good pets like guinea pigs, why not just get a guinea pig?" Well, rats bond much better to humans than guinea pigs do. Yes, guinea pigs are socialable, rats bond to you not just interact with you.
If you want to go the reptile route, leopard geckos make great pets. The only thing you want to consider is with small children, you will have to be there during any interaction with the gecko.
Leopard geckos are relatively small, but they are very docile.
Just remember not to tug on the geckos tail because it will come off. Although, the tail will grow back, it will grow back in a bulbous shape.
The one thing that may make a leopard gecko not so interesting for children is that they are nocturnal, meaning the child won't be able to see the gecko's behaviors during the day.
But, in terms of reptiles, leopard geckos are by far a better pet for small children than an iguana.
Again, with the reptile route, maybe you want something a little bigger than a leopard gecko. Maybe a bearded dragon will do. The only complication is that they require large enclosures.
Bearded dragons can reach an average of 18" to 24" in length.
For the most part they are very docile reptiles, but that is not always the case. You will prefer to get a bearded dragon as a younger reptile, especially if you have small children.
Although, they don't bite frequently, when they do, a bearded dragon bite my cause a little damage to a small child's finger. More than likely not a break, but an abrasion, nonetheless.
Bearded dragons require a more complicated enclosure and diet than leopard geckos, so make sure that you do your research before bringing one home.
When you are deciding which pet to get your younger child. Ask the child what he would like. Maybe he can help determine what you bring home.
Do remember that just because it's your child's pet, it's also your responsibility to make sure that the child is taking care of the animal properly.
Caring for Pets
- Help Caring for Pet Reptiles
Here are some tips for caring for leopard geckos, African fat tail geckos, crested geckos, bearded dragons, and ball pythons, as well as other sources of pet reptile information.
- Caring for Small Animals: Hamsters, Mice, Rats, & Chinchillas
As the title suggests, this is a great resource of information for hamsters, mice, rats, and chinchillas.
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