When children grow up, they will often ask for a pet to look after, cats and dogs seem like the obvious option, but these can often be a lot of hard work to care for, especially for a child under the age of ten.
However, there are smaller suitable pets for young children, that are cheaper when it comes to food and bedding, as well as not needing as much attention. These small pets can help teach children to have responsibility and can be very rewarding for them. With an adult’s guidance, they can enjoy many years with beloved pets that they will always cherish.
These are some of the best small pets that are suitable for younger children:
Fish Are the Perfect Starter Pet
If you want to introduce your child to looking after a pet slowly, with one that doesn’t have much upkeep, then having a fish is the perfect starter. The tank and supplies for cleaning are relatively cheap and once you buy a good one it will last for years. There are also a wide range of fishes to choose from, the most obvious option being a goldfish.
Young children will be able to feed the fish easily with supervision to make sure they don’t give them too much, and they are low maintenance. Some people even carry on owning fish into their adult years, with several different colored fish to live in a tank.
Rabbits Are Sweet
Some of the fluffiest and sweetest animals to own! Rabbits require a little more adult supervision, but they are still great pets for young children. They have a gentle nature and don’t run around too often, which means they are happy to just sit in a child’s lap and be stroked. As well as this, they are also very easy to care for and often have longer lifespans compared to other small animals.
All they need for a happy life is grass hay, rabbit pellets, and vegetables to keep them healthy, and a cage that’s big enough to house them. However, handling of the rabbits needs to be done under the watchful gaze of an adult in case the rabbit tries to flee. After all, they are prey animals, with the flight instinct in them.
Guinea Pigs Are Perfect for Cuddling
Smaller than rabbits, but bigger than hamsters, guinea pigs are one of the gentlest rodents and are often known for their sweet disposition. They aren’t likely to bite, which makes them perfect for young children because no one wants it to end in tears.
Another plus to owning a guinea pig is that they love to be handled, as long as the child knows how to hold them properly. With an average lifespan of five to seven years, a pair of guinea pigs will help keep young children company as they grow up. Just be sure to give them lots of hay and vegetables to keep them happy.
Chinchillas Have A Long Lifespan
When most people think of cute and furry pets, the chinchilla doesn’t come to mind, but they actually make great companions for children. They are quite intelligent, which means they can be taught to do tricks, and make for very interesting pets.
Compared to rabbits and guinea pigs, chinchillas need more work to keep them happy such as regular dust baths, large cages for exercising and they need to live with another chinchilla. Something to keep in mind is that they are nocturnal animals, which means they might sleep more in the day, but the great thing about them is they have a long lifespan.
The average chinchilla lives for around fifteen years, so if bought when a child is young, they can grow up alongside each other.
Rats Can be Calm and Entertaining
Most people see rats as creatures that are dirty, but they actually make great pets for children for a number of reasons. Compared to other small animals, they are very calm and laid-back, which means they are less likely to be nippy.
They are extremely social and love being handled, which is perfect if your child wants a pet they can hold. While rats need more cage space and toys to play with, they will keep children entertained for hours and are even able to learn tricks when taught correctly. The only downside to owning rats as pets is that they have a shorter lifespan of two to three years.
Whatever pet you decide on getting for your child, they will learn what it means to be responsible and enjoy the company of an animal.