At some point during parenthood, most parents end up with their kids asking to get a pet. Whether it be a dog or a fish, mom or dad are the ones who end up being the animal’s caretaker. While a dog is a popular choice for a family pet, there are some other pets you can opt for that your child can actually care for themselves with a bit of your help. Here are some low maintenance pets for kids:
The Basics: Fish and Hamsters
Fish are probably the best pet for kids to start off with. Betta fish are the most popular. These mini but mighty creatures are small colorful fish that are very low maintenance, and when taken care of properly, they can live up to three to five years. They only eat a small scoop of food twice a day and need to be cleaned just once a week. A common misconception about bettas though, is their tank size. In order to live longer, Bettas need a large enough space to swim. Small desktop tanks are not suitable for Bettas and can cause premature death. A three-gallon tank is usually ideal for these fish.
Hamsters are a better option for the kid that wants to hold and cuddle their pet. Hamsters are very low maintenance and live around two to three years. Their cage requires cleaning once a week by switching out their bedding and wiping down the cage. They do require a lot of exercise, so be sure to get a wheel for them to run. They also love being out of their cage in a hamster ball!
Although many people seem to hold grudges against reptiles, they actually make excellent pets. Some reptile pets include: snakes, bearded dragons, turtles, and other types of lizards. Reptiles only need to be fed about three times a week, depending on the species. One of the biggest differences between reptiles and other common pets for kids is the temperature regulations and the bonding. Reptiles do not enjoy being out of their habitat for too long in most circumstances. All reptiles also require a heat source and temperature regulation because they are cold blooded. This is achieved with a heat lamp and a thermostat. It is a good idea for a parent to keep an eye on the temperature regulation to ensure the reptile is happy and healthy.
Other Furry Friends
Some other mammals that make excellent pets for kids include rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets.
Rabbits are not as easy for children to care for as it may seem. These are great pets for older kids that can handle the extra responsibility. These animals tend to be very skittish, so they need a large enclosure to play in. Rabbits also thrive more in pairs.
Guinea pigs are very expressive and emotional critters. They bond very well with their owner and are more active than hamsters. They also require large spaces and do better in pairs.
Ferrets are notoriously curious critters. They are fairly independent, like cats, and love to explore. That being said, it is important to keep things that can harm or trap the ferret out of reach. Ferrets are pretty low maintenance and can even be trained!
Finding Your Pet
There are many options when it comes to choosing a pet for your child to care for. A great way to learn more about these animals is talk to an experienced pet owner or go to your local pet shop. Places like PetSmart have wonderful resources on how to care for different types of pets!