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Best Pets for Small Children

Updated on October 26, 2010

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

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.

Fancy Rats

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.

Leopard Geckos

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.

Bearded Dragons

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.


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    • profile image

      lily 3 years ago

      I disagree strongly about guinea pigs being great pets for small children. I own two Parsley and Banjo and despite what you say it is definteley not okay to drop guinea pigs. they are actually delicate creatures that need carful handling and if handled by a young child need adult supervision at all times. It is a mean thing to say it doesn't matter if you drop a guinea pig. They don't make good pets for young children also as they are actually high maintenance and fragile. So this is not true.

      Ps: my friends sisters guinea pig died because she kept dropping it.

    • Mommy Engelmann profile image

      Kim 4 years ago from Texas

      We have a rabbit that is very good with my toddler, but unfortunately unlikely to retaliate so i have to keep an eye on interactions. Caught the 2 year old trying to stand on him and he didn`t move. Kiddo got a spanking and the rabbit went straight for his cage and wouldn't come out for 2 days. Cant blame the poor thing either.

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      Liz 4 years ago

      I have goldfish and they are the most challenging pets ever. I also have a cat a dog a turtle 2 african dwarf frogs a female beta fish a crayfish and I'm thinking of getting some hermit crabs later on along with a guinea pig and maybe a bird

      It depends what pet you get i love animals and would love to have a hermit crab someday by the way I'm 18 and responsible

    • profile image

      casey 5 years ago

      Im 10 trying to find a good pet .that's small what doo i do.

    • profile image

      Shawn 5 years ago

      Trying to find a good pet for my 3 children ages 3,6, and 7. What should I get?

    • profile image

      unsafe to tell my name 5 years ago

      I am 9 and I am looking for a a pet that won't be to hard care for because it is hard in the morning, and, school. If any of you would be very kind and list good pets and advice

    • profile image

      Bearded Dragon Owner 5 years ago

      I wouldn't suggest a bearded dragon for a child. They get pretty big. They are carnivores and so once they start getting big you have to feed them mice which is not as simple as crickets. You also have to frequently hold them as babies for them to be socialized.

    • profile image

      Alex 5 years ago

      If I have had a gerbils for 13 weeks and other can you buy another one

    • profile image

      Anonymous 5 years ago

      I think all these pets are great, especially the rat. Although I really want a guinea pig, rats are the best pet, hands down. I would know, because I have three of them. They are very affectionate and never bite. All of you out there hating on rats, change your perspective on them.

      Anyway, anyone have advice on getting a Guinea Pig?


    • profile image

      Paige 5 years ago

      I say get a guinea pig. They are cute and cuddly.

    • profile image

      chili101 5 years ago

      i want a non stinky house pet

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 5 years ago from Washington state

      I'm so glad to see reptiles on this list! Most people have no idea how easy they are to care for, and quickly disregard them as pets! The only misfortune I have run into is that they live for a very long time, and most children tire of animals after a while, which is why rodents make such a good choice for them as well.

    • sweetguide profile image

      sweetguide 5 years ago from River side

      This is really awesome

      very good advice dear Whitney05

    • profile image

      girlygirl334 5 years ago

      ok every one wants a RAT but they are so ugly i think the best pet of ALLL is a dog because the are a mans and girls best friend and they do come in different sizes and i have a dog and he is the love of my LIFE and they last long not like a hamster that only lasts a YEAR i had one i had a lot of pets and the best one is my dog jack so go with a dog for a PET trust me and they dont stink so it's a win win do it u will thank me that u did but rember wehen your picking out a dog make sure its the right one for u THANKS!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      koko the choko 5 years ago

      I really want a small and cute pet that is smart and maybe "Portable". I already have a hamster but she is dumb because she killed her husband!!! I would even like a puppy but they are big and NOT pocket fit!!! I heard of a naked mole fat but when i saw them in pictures, they were "Gross"! I thought they were going to be cuter because I saw Kim Possible and Rufus was awesome!! Please help me decide on what I should do or get! My parents won't allow me a lot of stuff so it's going to be hard! BTW I am only 10!

    • profile image

      reptile lover 5 years ago

      Hi im also thinking what kind of pet should i have

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      Cat 5 years ago

      Hey I am 11 what pet should I get? No dogs no cats, something cute and cuddly.


    • profile image

      siri 5 years ago

      hi i have a bunny and it is SO boring top me and oh it's litter box.......that thing smells! wat do i do???? get rid of that thing or just what pet should i get? i want one that can be in my room but not stink it up, that is not much work, likes to be held and will like me!

      please help me.... i love animals!


      btw i am 9 years old

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      LaurenS 5 years ago

      leopard geckos are cute but boring and if you use a light heater make sure its not over them or on all the time because they just might shed to death.... i recommend the heater pads that go underneath the aquarium.

      I want a rat and my brother wants a rat, so we are thinking about getting a couple, but our parents aren't wanting to.

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      zu zu 5 years ago

      those pets are so cute except the rat that is gross

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