Children can learn responsibility, gain confidence and make a friend through the privilege of pet ownership. The right pet can bring happiness and friendship for many years. Deciding on the pet which best matches your child may seem difficult. Here are several suitable pet options for young children.
A fish is considered an acceptable starter pet for a young child. While most people choose goldfish as the standard choice, caring for them is more difficult than most think. For a low-maintenance pet, a better option to consider is the Siamese fighting fish, commonly known as a Betta fish. Native to Southeast Asia these aquatic pets prefer a solitary life and only require a limited amount of stagnant water. This eliminates the need and maintenance of filters, heaters, aerators or cleaning chemicals.
Although not the cuddly type of pet, these naturally hypoallergenic, cold-blooded critters are great for younger pet owners. Some species of snakes can do well, but avoid those of the constricting variety. Plant-eating tortoises can live for an amazing number of years. Reptiles don’t require tons of attention (or grooming) but should be cared for gently and consistently. Feeding and habitats vary among reptiles with most being contained in cages or aquariums requiring limited cleaning.
Birds are an excellent pet but do require daily interaction and care. Birds can be social and highly intelligent (some can talk). A less expensive and smaller bird, such as a canary or parakeet, is a good starter bird for younger kids. After gaining experience in caring for a bird you could invest in a more expensive and smarter variety, like a cockatoo or cockatiel. These birds can be trained and perform, but require quite a bit more attention.
A popular choice for a first pet, kittens are cuddly and provide endless entertainment with their hilarious antics. Cats are independent by nature, require less care and can live in smaller spaces. Cats are still a commitment in the aspect that they need to receive immunizations and regular checkups from a veterinarian and be fed daily.
An adorable puppy provides tons of kisses and cuddles, but is also a big commitment. Aside from housebreaking, dogs require daily care, such as feeding and exercise, as well as regular checkups and immunizations at a veterinary office. Whether you get a dog from a breeder, store or adopt, always ensure it socializes well, especially with kids. Some breeds that are considered better suited for younger children include Beagles, Boxers, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.
Hamsters are primarily low-maintenance but their cages require weekly cleaning. They play well independently with provided toys and exercise accessories, such as a wheel. Playful animals which enjoy being held gently, hamsters do tend to have a shorter life expectancy than other pets. Decide if you’re prepared for the possibility of teaching your child a life lesson about loss, sooner rather than later, before getting a hamster.