Thank you to our guest contributor, Amy Williams, for once again providing us with great ideas and information.
No matter their age, many children will inevitably decide they want a pet. This can be such an exciting time for families because pets make excellent additions to any home. Pets provide companionship, they teach children life lessons and mainly, they are simply a joy to be around. While narrowing down to the right pet can be a difficult decision, there is still a perfect pet out there to meet your family’s unique needs. To help you make the best decisions possible, here are a few recommendations and tips that can help you pick the best pet for your child.
At the top of the list for great pets are dogs. As a very common pet, dogs are excellent animals known for their friendliness, loyalty and pleasant demeanors. The first thing to consider when it comes to dogs, is their breed. All breeds are not created equal and understanding a breed’s needs will help you to determine the best dog for your child. For instance, some breeds need a lot of attention, whereas others are more independent. Next, consider how active the family is as dogs will need to be walked often. An active dog may be a great pet for families who frequent the park or who otherwise enjoy the great outdoors. Do keep in mind that dogs require house training and they will need routine care from a veterinarian to include vaccinations and possibly grooming.
Just like dogs, cats make excellent family pets. As highly independent animals, cats require minimal care and can be indoor or outdoor companions. Cats will require a litter box, but they do not need special training to use them. Cats are good natured pets that can care for themselves if left alone for extended periods of time, such as when the family is away at work or if children are away at school. Similarly, they do not require a lot of attention but they can be quite affectionate with their owners nonetheless, often purring to show their love and devotion. Similar to dogs, they even enjoy chewy treats which may delight children who are tasked with giving their new pet a treat for good behavior.
Hamsters are another great pet for children. Hamsters are small rodents that have easy-to-maintain cage requirements. Hamsters are inexpensive pets, with the greatest expense usually consisting of their cages and exercise equipment. Hamsters enjoy running around on wheels, traveling through mazes within their cages, or even rolling around in independent hamster balls on the floor. This can be highly entertaining for children who are fascinated by this fun pet. However, do keep in mind that a hamster may not be the best pet for younger children because they can bite. Also, hamsters should be kept in pairs or in groups as they are social and do not like being alone. However, be mindful that you choose hamsters of the same sex as they reproduce very easily.
Another pet rodent that children will enjoy is the guinea pig. Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs are excellent pets for smaller children. In fact, guinea pigs are considered safe pets to have around children of all ages because they generally do not bite or scratch. They are low maintenance animals with easy-to-manage cage requirements. What’s more is that they have minimal odor and are very affectionate. They have an easy diet to keep up with which consists of hay, grass pellets and other vegetables. But, one downside to guinea pigs is that they can be noisy, which can be disruptive for quiet households. Guinea pigs are also social pets who do not like to be alone, so you may end up with two family pets instead of just one if guinea pigs are the right fit for your child.
Rabbits also make great pets for children of all ages. Friendly rabbits may be indoor or outdoor pets, depending upon your family’s requirements. However, do keep in mind that some rabbits that are kept indoors may chew on items such as wires that are left out or other items in their reach. To keep your rabbit safe, a cage is recommended. Rabbits do enjoy interaction but they are not as dependent as guinea pigs. This means that a lone rabbit can make the perfect pet for a child who will be attentive to the rabbit’s needs. Rabbits are intelligent animals and they enjoy a rich diet of hay, pellets and vegetables. They are also very quiet animals so they will not disturb quiet homes. Do keep in mind that rabbits have sharp nails which pose the risk for scratches, but these scratches are typically accidental and very similar to a cat’s scratch. They also have a strong odor so their cages will need to be changed frequently for the best experience.
While there is no one best answer regarding the best kinds of pets for your child, the decision to choose the right pet is nonetheless an exciting time and major life event for your family. Pets can teach kids a lot of responsibility, especially if parents teach the child how to care for the pet independently such as feeding, bathing or walking the pet regularly. It is important to always take the time to learn about different animals first before bringing them home. For instance, visit a local animal shelter that may be able to assist in providing detailed information on the best care for your beloved pet. All in all, choose the best pet for your family and enjoy many years to come with your new family member!