Small Pets for Kids?

Choosing the right small pet for children is a big decision. Every animal is different some need lots of attention, some are easy for small hands to handle, and some are more inclined to bite.

Little animals can also be easier for the child to care for themselves by cleaning their cage and topping up food and water, teaching them responsibility and building a bond. Youll need to handle them every day, play with them, let them run around outside the cage (they generally wont wander too far) and keep them mentally stimulated.

Ferrets are another small pet better suited to older children (theyre not always happy being held in younger hands). Some fish can live much longer than other small pets, depending on the breed and the care they receive. Another popular choice for a family pet, cats require less attention than dogs in terms of walking and routine.

Things you need to think about include whether you live near a main road, paying for a cattery when you go on holiday, the cost of vaccinations and cat insurance.

What is the best small pet for child?

Small birds, reptiles, turtles, rodents or guinea pigs make great pets for these kids. You can give them the responsibility of food and water for their animals, but make sure you supervise them to ensure that they are not overfeeding their pet, but also to check that they are actually doing it.

What is the easiest pet to take care of?

Birds..Snakes. ….Sea Monkeys. ….Guinea pigs. ….Goldfish. Ahh, the goldfish. ….Cats. If you claim that you are not a “cat person”, have you ever tried owning a cat? ….Hamsters. Taking care of a hamster is easy once they have the proper cage. …

Don’t have space for a big pet? Don’t worry. There are still plenty of friendly, palm-sized options your child will love. Here are the best small pets for kids.

If you think they’ll lose interest in caring for the hamster, these years might seem long, but they could also seem too short if the pet dies, giving your child their first exposure to death . Unless your child has experienced the loss of a family member or friend, the experience will undoubtedly be upsetting, though it can also provide the opportunity for an important life lesson.

These cuddly creatures are ideal for a kid who is just learning to take care of a pet because a guinea pig is less likely to get frustrated with its young caretaker. Guinea pigs have a longer life span around five to seven yearsthan hamsters do, and they require more time and effort because of their bigger appetite for lots of hay and vegetables. It’s easy to feed gerbils because they have a standard diet similar to that of rats and hamsters: rodent pellets and food blocks, along with some supplemental seed mixes.

Since rats enjoy interacting with people and things, providing a number of toys and accessories, from ropes to paper-towel rolls, will keep them happy and occupied.

Dont have the time or space or time for a dog? Maybe your shelter ran out of canine companions when adoptions went crazy during the start of COVID-19. Don’t worry. There are still plenty of friendly palm-sized options for your kids that are compact and easy to care for.

Rats are also easy to care for, just need regular cleaning and a standard rodent diet of food blocks. Their bigger appetite can make guinea pigs messier than say, a hamster, so you might have to clean their cage more frequently as well.

A downside is that although its pretty straightforward to take care of these spiky creatures, theyre prone to health problems (and vet bills). Though reptiles such as lizards, snakes and frogs are pretty low maintenance, setting up the right environment for them can be a difficult – and expensive – task. Stick insects, praying mantis, hissing cockroaches and crickets will be happy with just a warm tank, some foliage and regular snacks.

Some small animal pets are more kid-friendly than others. The success or failure of getting a pocket pet for a child depends on the choice made by you or your child of which small animal pet to get. Life span, interactions, grooming needs and etc. all combine to make each pet species unique.

Rabbits with maloccluded teeth might need regular tooth trims done by a veterinarian. The life span of hamsters ranges from one to three years, with the Syrian living longest.

The dwarf breeds can do well in groups, but might occasionally get into fights that require housing them in separate habitats. While hamsters dont usually object to being held, they usually wont sit and cuddle. The endearing guinea pig is a herd animal that enjoys interacting with its owner.

Often, guinea pigs request food by wheeking, making a high-pitched, drawn-out squeak. The American Cavy Association recognizes 13 guinea pig breeds, so theres some variety to choose from. As a herd animal, they do best paired with another guinea pig, but some do well alone if an owner is attentive.

Guinea pigs will generally be content when held securely for a few minutes. Hold a guinea pig while seated with it resting on a towel or small animal bed. Although its fun to sit with a guinea pig, one drawback is that they urinate or defecate frequently, so be prepared for some accidents.

Grooming needs for shorthaired breeds include occasional brushing and spot-cleaning of fur and regular nail trims. Rats enjoy interacting with owners and like to hang out together, which is why they make a kid-friendly pet. That means mice often enjoy doing their own thing and are more fun to watch than hold.

The playful gerbil is busy, smart and likes to hang out with people. Occasionally, gerbils might need separate housing if fighting occurs. With gentle handling, gerbils learn to trust their owner and enjoy interacting.

They are on the large side of the small animal pets and require a larger cage. Chinchillas, like hamsters and mice, are pets more to appreciate by watching instead of interacting with them. Grooming for a healthy chinchilla basically requires just offering it a dust bath a few times a week.

The ever-curious ferret is a furry ball of energy when awake and a limp ragdoll when asleep. Grooming needs are a bit higher than other small animal pets because, in addition to regular nails trims and occasional coat brushing or baths, ferrets need regular tooth brushing.

Hamsters

This classic small pet is easy to care for and can even be trained to use litter. That said, hamsters can be rather nippy, and small breeds (females in particular) can be quite aggressive, warns Katherine Quesenberry, DVM, MPH, DABVP, an exotic-pets expert at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. This makes some hamsters difficult to handle. Dr. Graham recommends getting a larger breed such as the Syrian hamster, which is more likely to adapt to home care.A hamster should be kept in a roomy cage, with tunnels and nesting areas for sleeping—but make sure you can clean the cage easily. Hamsters will also typically live for about three years, so consider how much your child will want to interact with it. If you think they’ll lose interest in caring for the hamster, these years might seem long, but they could also seem too short if the pet dies, giving your child their first exposure to death. Unless your child has experienced the loss of a family member or friend, the experience will undoubtedly be upsetting, though it can also provide the opportunity for an important life lesson. “It can be sad but also a way to introduce the idea that everything dies,” says Dr. Graham. “You can be there as your child goes through the experience.”

Guinea Pigs

While guinea pigs are in the same rodent family as hamsters, their demeanor couldn’t be more different. These rodents are gentle and have a sweet disposition, which makes them less likely to bite. Plus, they can be sociable, which means they won’t mind being handled—as long as they’re held properly—and they won’t mind if young kids want to interact with them.These cuddly creatures are ideal for a kid who is just learning to take care of a pet because a guinea pig is less likely to get frustrated with its young caretaker. Consider getting another guinea pig as a companion, however, so they won’t get lonely.Guinea pigs have a longer life span—around five to seven years—than hamsters do, and they require more time and effort because of their bigger appetite for lots of hay and vegetables. This appetite can make guinea pigs messier than other small mammals, so you might have to clean their cage more frequently as well.

Gerbils

“Gerbils are easy to take care of but not very hands-on,” Dr. Quesenberry says. “They’re fine for kids who don’t want to be that involved.” Unlike hamsters and guinea pigs, gerbils have a relatively short lifespan—about two years. It’s easy to feed gerbils because they have a standard diet similar to that of rats and hamsters: rodent pellets and food blocks, along with some supplemental seed mixes.Gerbils are not usually aggressive, so they can also be held, but they are very fast, so it won’t be easy to hold them for long. This quickness means a lot of activity in the cage, which could pique your child’s curiosity. Gerbils are more sensitive to their environment than other small animals, however, and humidity can give them respiratory and fur problems. If you are concerned that your environment might be too humid for a gerbil, consult a veterinarian.

Rats

A rat might not be the first pet on your list, but “they make some of the best pets for small children,” says Dr. Graham. “Rats can be calm, laid-back, not as nippy as other small mammals, and they can be handled a lot.”They make ideal pets if you want your child to develop a strong bond with a pet, because they’re interactive and able to learn tricks, such as retrieving objects and navigating mazes or obstacle courses. Since rats enjoy interacting with people and things, providing a number of toys and accessories, from ropes to paper-towel rolls, will keep them happy and occupied. Rats are also easy to care for and require a standard rodent diet of food blocks. However, like gerbils, rats have a short lifespan ranging from two to three years.

Rabbits

You can consider these popular small pets for kids as long as there’s adult supervision. Like guinea pigs, rabbits are good for younger kids because they usually have a gentle and sociable nature. While larger breeds can be especially gentle, Dr. Quesenberry advises that all rabbits should be spayed or neutered to prevent any aggression (and to prevent uterine cancer in females). This is especially important if you want to keep more than one rabbit in the same space.A rabbit can live from 8 to 12 years. They can also be litter-trained, and they’re easy to care for. Dr. Quesenberry notes that a proper diet is important to ensure the animal’s health and happiness: grass hay, rabbit pellets, and vegetables.

Chinchillas

Chinchillas are a more exotic option for kids who want to watch their pet rather than directly interact with it. Although they’re gentle, chinchillas can be very agile and quick, and they may not be appropriate for young children who aren’t able to handle them, Dr. Quesenberry says. They need a diet of chinchilla pellets and hay, with vegetables as a treat.Unlike their small-pet counterparts, chinchillas should be provided with a dust bath instead of a water bath. Buy chinchilla dust (specially formulated to mimic the dust in their native habitat) and place it in a sturdy bowl or deep dish, or purchase a dust house. A chinchilla needs a dust bath two to three times a week, given outside of its cage; the cage should be multilevel so it can climb up and down.With a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years, chinchillas tend to live much longer than guinea pigs and other rodents.

Rabbits

Soft and furry rabbits are available in many breeds, with more than 60 rabbit breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. The large selection of rabbit breeds and availability make rabbits a popular children’s pet. Holland Lops, Dutch and Polish are some of the popular bunny breeds, and larger bunny breeds like the Flemish Giant tend to be more tolerant of handling.Although life spans vary, rabbits generally live for about 10 years, which means getting a pet rabbit is a significant commitment. If a child is 10 when a young bunny joins the family, he or she will likely be a high school graduate or beyond for the bunny’s senior years.Rabbits are social animals that generally do best when paired or grouped with other rabbits, but be sure that all rabbits are neutered or spayed to avoid unintended breeding.Rabbits generally do not like to be held or picked up; incorrect handling can result in a rabbit’s nails scratching a child, or a rabbit’s back or legs being injured or broken.Since rabbits groom themselves, shorthaired breeds usually don’t need owners to do much beyond a weekly brushing and spot-cleaning of fur. Rabbits do require regular nail trims, especially if they do not have access to appropriate digging opportunities, and they must have items to chew on in addition to hay to keep their teeth trimmed. Rabbits with maloccluded teeth might need regular tooth trims done by a veterinarian. Long-haired rabbit breeds usually require daily brushing. Rabbits can be litter-trained.Special note: Rabbits absolutely must eat hay, so a rabbit won’t be a good fit if anyone in the house is allergic to hay.

Hamsters

The charming, busy hamster is a pet that’s fun to watch. Five species are usually available—the large Syrian and the four smaller dwarf species: Roborovski, Winter White, Campbell’s and Chinese.The life span of hamsters ranges from one to three years, with the Syrian living longest. The Syrian must always be kept in its own habitat, because adult Syrians usually fight, sometimes to the death. The dwarf breeds can do well in groups, but might occasionally get into fights that require housing them in separate habitats. Pair or group same-sex hamsters to avoid breeding.While hamsters don’t usually object to being held, they usually won’t sit and cuddle. Hamsters are the busy bees of the pet world and are usually on the go. It’s most fun to watch them play in their habitat or in a play area.One drawback to hamsters is their sleep schedule, which is the opposite of a child’s. Hamsters are awake and busy at night and sleep during the day.Hamsters are self-groomers that rarely need an owner to do anything except provide an occasional dust bath with the special dust sold by pet retailers. As rodents, hamsters have constantly growing teeth that are kept in check by them chewing appropriate hamster food or toys.Special note: Chinese hamsters are illegal to own in some states.

Guinea Pigs

The endearing guinea pig is a herd animal that enjoys interacting with its owner. Often, guinea pigs request food by wheeking, making a high-pitched, drawn-out squeak.The American Cavy Association recognizes 13 guinea pig breeds, so there’s some variety to choose from. Guinea pigs typically live for about five years.As a herd animal, they do best paired with another guinea pig, but some do well alone if an owner is attentive. If males are not neutered, same-sex pairs or groups are needed to avoid breeding.Guinea pigs will generally be content when held securely for a few minutes. Hold a guinea pig while seated with it resting on a towel or small animal bed. Although it’s fun to sit with a guinea pig, one drawback is that they urinate or defecate frequently, so be prepared for some accidents.Grooming needs for shorthaired breeds include occasional brushing and spot-cleaning of fur and regular nail trims. Long-haired breeds need more frequent brushing. Guinea pigs keep their growing teeth trim by chewing appropriate guinea pig food or toys.Special note: Guinea pigs must eat hay, so a guinea pig won’t be a good fit if anyone in the house is allergic to hay.

Mice And Rats

Rats might top the list as a kid-friendly pet. With only a two to three year life span, the time commitment is low. Mice have even less of a time commitment, living only one to two years.Both rats and mice are social animals and do better in same-sex pairs or groups; the exception is male adult mice, which will fight if housed together.Rats enjoy interacting with owners and like to hang out together, which is why they make a kid-friendly pet.Their size is about right for children—not too small, but easy to pick up and carry. Mice are much smaller than rats and are more like hamsters regarding interaction. That means mice often enjoy doing their own thing and are more fun to watch than hold.Grooming for both rats and mice is minimal, because both pets groom themselves. Owners might need to brush or spot-clean the coat occasionally.Chew items must be provided to keep their growing teeth trimmed.

Gerbils

The playful gerbil is busy, smart and likes to hang out with people.Although gerbils only live for about two to three years, they pack a lot of living into that time.Acrobatic and social, gerbils usually do best if housed as same-sex pairs/groups. Occasionally, gerbils might need separate housing if fighting occurs.With gentle handling, gerbils learn to trust their owner and enjoy interacting. A gerbil should never be lifted by its tail, because the tail skin might come off and never return.Gerbils are another self-grooming pet and do not require regular grooming from their owner. However, gerbil owners should offer a dust bath to the gerbils weekly and always provide items for the gerbils to chew to keep their ever-growing teeth trimmed. Gerbils are known for their chewing ability!Special note: Gerbils are illegal to own in several states, so be sure your area permits gerbil ownership before obtaining one.

Chinchillas

Touching a chinchilla’s super-soft fur is a sensation, but chinchillas rarely hold still for petting. Chinchillas live to be about 10 years old. They are on the large side of the small animal pets and require a larger cage.As herd animals, they do best with a companion chinchilla (same-sex to avoid breeding). Chinchillas, like hamsters and mice, are pets more to appreciate by watching instead of interacting with them. Handling can be difficult, and grabbing the fur wrong can cause it to come out in clumps.Grooming for a healthy chinchilla basically requires just offering it a dust bath a few times a week.Chinchillas also like to chew and have constantly growing teeth, so appropriate chew items must be provided to keep their teeth trimmed.Special note: Chinchillas must eat hay, so a chinchilla won’t be a good fit if anyone in the house is allergic to hay.

Ferrets

The ever-curious ferret is a furry ball of energy when awake and a limp ragdoll when asleep. Ferrets live for about five to seven years and are full of personality. Some are shy, while others are rough-and-tumble characters.Ferrets should be neutered or live in same-sex pairs/groups. A ferret can be kept as a single pet as long as the owner is attentive. All ferrets require a few hours of out-of-cage playtime or free-roam of a ferret-proofed room. Most ferrets won’t mind being held but typically prefer to be off exploring.Grooming needs are a bit higher than other small animal pets because, in addition to regular nails trims and occasional coat brushing or baths, ferrets need regular tooth brushing. Ferrets can be litter-trained.Special note: Young ferrets are known to go through a nippy phase, and the hammocks or sleep sacks ferrets need must be laundered at least weekly.