Many families at some point think about welcoming a pet into their home. Pets can be a great way of teaching children responsibility and helping them mature. However, parents are often put off by the amount of work that goes into to looking after a pet, how much they cost and the dangers to their child. While it’s true that some pets are hard work, especially when you have young children to look after, others make perfect first pets. Here’s a look at some of the best animals for children.
Dogs make a great pet for families as they are so loving and can live for a long time. You may be tempted by a puppy, which can grow with your child, but sometimes it’s best to get an older dog who has had previous experience of living with children. The downside to a dog is that they can be expensive to look after and take up a lot of your time, which may not be ideal if you have a baby or very young children.
Rabbits can also make a great family pet. They are soft and cuddly (which children love), some breeds can be playful, and they don’t take much looking after. If you are looking to introduce a pet to your child, and already have an animal of your own, rabbits may not always be the best option, depending on what kind of animal you already have. Read this guide on introducing your rabbit to other family pets for help and advice.
Many people consider guinea pigs to be the ideal first pets for younger children. This is because they are incredibly tame, happy to be held and stroked, need little looking after and are easy to clean. Guinea pigs are happier in pairs, so you’ll ideally want to get two. And, they like a little space to run around.
Hamsters are a popular choice for many parents as they like to live alone, don’t take up much space, are cheap to buy, and there are many fun cages and toys available, which the kids love. However, hamsters are nocturnal so can be a little boring. They also have a very short life span.
While a goldfish will probably bore older children quite quickly, they’re ideal for very young children who just want something nice to look at. As they get a little older, being responsible for feeding their fish could help to prepare them for the challenge of caring for a more complex animal in the future.
Cleaning a budgie’s cage can be challenging, and they aren’t very cuddly. But, they are unbelievably social. Budgies love living with children as they enjoy the constant chatter. Young children may just like talking to their new friend and enjoying hearing him chirp back, but older children can easily help with feeding and cleaning.
Welcoming a new pet into your home is incredibly exciting. But, remember to prepare your child as much as you can for their new responsibilities and involve them as much as possible with looking after their new friend from the very start.