At some point, almost every child has begged their parents for a pet. The idea may leave you feeling apprehensive but it’s important to bear in mind that having pets can have its benefits. Pets teach children responsibility, how to care for something and giving them the important lesson of putting someone else’s needs before their own.
Having a pet doesn’t have to be hard work, or disrupt your daily routine or cost you a fortune to keep. Here are some of the recommended pets for young children to own:
1. Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are a sturdier version of their cousin the hamster. They love being handled, a lot more so than hamsters, are very sociable creatures so will revel in the attention. Guinea pigs do require a little more room than a hamster but they live longer.
Rabbits are a popular choice for a first pet. They are usually kept in a hutch outdoors but nowadays can be kept indoors. Rabbits are friendly, inquisitive and clean creatures, they are relatively low maintance though do require plenty of exercise. They can bite, usually only if provoked, so is perhaps more so suited to a slightly older child.
While not a very interactive pet, keeping goldfish can be very hands on approach to looking after an animal, teaching your child to change its water regularly and feeding daily. They are surprisingly hardy animals when looked after correctly and can live for many years.
Children love dogs. These furry companions make very loyal, rewarding pets that can be enjoyed for many years. However, they are a big responsibility, expensive to keep, need a lot more attention than some pets. Be sure to go for a small breed of dog that is suitable for children, the dog should have an even temperament and ideally be used to children particularly with very young children who could tease and play with the dog, a bigger and more highly strung dog may respond aggressively.
Cats make an ideal pet for old and young because of their independence and ability to take care of themselves. A cat may not be a good option for a very young child as cats do have the tendency to ‘lash out’ or bite if the cat is annoyed or irritated by something. They are affectionate and rewarding animals, they are a lot easier to look after than dogs.
6. Leopard Gecko
If your child favours the slightly more exotic animal, a leopard gecko makes an ideal pet for children. Relatively small, with placid personalities and no teeth, a gecko makes a more unusual but just as enjoyable pet for any age. They are again, clean animals, surprisingly low maintenance can live for a long time but as they are cold blooded, do need to be kept in a vivarium. Their tails can fall off if the tail is pulled, so discourage any rough handling particularly from smaller children.
7. Shetland Pony
Those with a bit more cash to spare can splash out on a pony for their child. Ponies are beautiful animals, highly rewarding and fascinating animals. Looking after a pony is the ultimate way of instilling values in your children, it is however, very expensive and time-consuming. A Pony is a big commitment not just for your child but for you as the parents, a pony is a fantastic pet but it’s only suitable for those with the space, money and time.
This article was written by James Harper on behalf of House Of Paws. Click here to visit their site.