If you have young kids at home, you can bet anything that if they haven’t already, they’re eventually going to come to you asking for a pet. If you don’t have one already, this is probably going to make you want to say a big, resounding NO right away. Especially since requests for a pet usually are referring to dogs or cats. It’s true that having a dog or a cat is a big responsibility. Dogs require plenty of attention, daily walks, vet visits and grooming. While cats are a little more self-sufficient (litter boxes for relieving themselves) but they still require attention, a certain level of training, definitely grooming and more.
Before you write off having pets altogether and watch the hope sadly fade away in your child’s eyes as you let them down, consider some of these other alternative pets. These are also great options if you are allergic to dog or cat hair. These relatively smaller and lower maintenance pets are good starter pets that give kids the chance to learn how to take care of animals. Maybe if your child is great about taking care of them, you might end up considering that dog or cat after all!
This is probably the next most popular type of pet after dogs and cats. These small, cute, fluffy rodents are known for running in their hamster wheels and being fun to play with. While they are likely to bite if they feel threatened, you can usually train them to be friendly, especially if they feel comfortable with their owners. The Syrian hamster or golden hamster is a popular breed that tends to be friendlier. Their lifespan is about 3-5 years. You really only need to make sure that their cage is spacious, has plenty of bedding and a variety of hiding places, enough food and a water bottle.
This is another cute, fluffy rodent that can be your child’s best friend. They have silky fur and are bigger than hamsters, but can possibly bite if they are not socialized properly. When they are socialized and trained, you can get them to be very friendly and will even come when you call. They are also known for having no body odor which means that if you keep up with their cage cleaning, you won’t have too worry too much about a smell. These fluffy guys will live anywhere from 8-12 years.
If you live in a place where owning chickens is permitted, these birds are good for more than just eggs and nuggets. They are pretty charismatic in nature and can be trained to come when you call. For places where it gets cold, chickens do need to be brought inside. There are plenty of breeds of chickens, so research the different choices and find one whose personality matches your family lifestyle. Having chickens will also be a learning opportunity for your kids as they learn where their eggs come from. Chickens have an average lifespan of 6-12 years.
Having a fish tank can be a great addition to living spaces. It adds a touch of zen-like decor that can be relaxing and mesmerizing to look at. Fish are a pretty hands-off type of pet. But they are great for young kids because all they have to do is make sure they feed them. Not too much, not too little, just at the right times, and the fish will be happy. Goldfish are a popular breed, but there are plenty more. Home aquarium goldfish can live to be around 10-15 years!