So what do you think are the best pets for kids to have?
There is such a big choice for kids nowadays, much more than the classic puppy or kitten, they can now decide they want reptiles, or rabbits, or go all out and beg for a pony.
But a pony has never gone out of style with little girls has it? - lol!
In this section I'll have a quick look at the most popular choices parents have for getting their children pets that are safe, fun and won't drive the parents crazy if it's done right.
Let's begin with the most popular of all, dogs... but are they really?
Many children beg their parents for a puppy or a dog.
Having a dog as a pet will teach your children how to love and care for something other than themselves.
It teaches them responsibility as the dog must be fed every day and brushed and bathed regularly.
It has to be taken to the vet when necessary and be taken for walks if the yard is too small.
Dogs may be considered fairly high maintenance pets, yet they give back a great deal which makes it all worthwhile.
Many dogs are sensitive to their owner’s moods and will often sit with a child when they are upset, giving them comfort and unconditional love.
They are ready and willing to play at any time of the night or day and like to be with you wherever you go.
They have a need for companionship that other pets such as rabbits and other small rodents often don’t seem to have.
Dogs can be trained quite easily. They soon learn to come when called and will learn other small tricks such as sitting on command and walking on a lead.
This makes them easy to have as pets and companions.
They can also be taught not to go to the bathroom in the house and this makes them ideal for inside or outside pets.
So is a dog ideal for your child? Much depends on the child.
If your child loves animals and especially dogs and has the time and energy to play with a dog, then it could be just the thing.
However, if your child is very young or quite timid around animals, a quieter pet might be more suitable.
Toddlers cannot handle having a large dog – or even a small one – jump up on them all the time.
It would knock them over and make them frightened. It can even cause them injury from scratches or bruises from falling.
Generally, a dog is better for an older child who can play with it in many ways such as throwing a Frisbee or ball for the dog to bring back or simply running around with the dog.
An older child will understand how to lead a dog and be able to do it; a toddler could not.
Dogs as pets do cost more to feed and care for than some other smaller pets.
They need various vaccinations from the vet on a regular basis to keep them healthy and should be wormed by the owner.
They need a warm place to sleep and somewhere that they can be confined to if the family needs to go out.
If they cannot go on holiday with you they will need to go to a pet motel. Some dogs suffer from anxiety when their owners leave them.
Many people love cats and would never dream of being without one, but are cats suitable for children’s pets?
A cat can be a wonderful additional to any family.
Cats are not hard to look after, especially if you get a short-haired one.
Many kids seem to like cats with long hair, but these do need brushing regularly to keep knots and burrs out of their fur – and of course to keep them looking beautiful.
One great thing about a cat as a pet is that it can be inside or out.
Cats are really easy to toilet train, so you won’t have to worry about droppings or puddle throughout the house.
They are clean and tidy creatures and if they have a favourite mat or scratching pole to sharpen their claws on they are happy.
Having a pet will teach your child a great deal.
They will learn how to care for their kitten or cat and in return it will give them lots of happiness.
Cats are happy to cuddle up on a warm lap by the television or anywhere else.
They don’t make lots of noise like a dog can so there will never be the worry of annoying the neighbors.
The only thing they might get annoyed about is if the cat goes into their garden to attend to its toilet needs.
There are a few cons to owning a cat as a pet.
Cats love to hunt and this trait cannot be trained out of them.
So you might find small lizards on the door mat, or clumps of bird feathers in the yard.
A collar with a bell will help to protect the bird life.
Another down side is that cats cannot be kept in your yard by a fence. They can jump and climb almost anywhere.
And they like to go out at night to explore the district. This may result in them getting attacked by other cats or dogs or getting run over by a car.
However, they can be confined to the house at night. There is a recent trend to make a cattery out of wire mesh in the back yard so that pussy can get exercise but be kept safe.
Cats do not cost a great deal to keep. They don’t eat as much as a dog, or require a kennel and lead.
But they might sleep in a basket if one is provided. Otherwise the bed or sofa will do them fine.
Cats that are brought up with children usually don’t mind being hugged and carried around by them, though they may scratch sometimes.
Some children love birds and want to have a cute feathered friend for a pet.
Birds are pretty with their varied colors and most of them chirp or sing cheerfully so they are popular as pets.
You can have different types of birds such as canaries, budgerigars, cockatiels, cockatoos or parrots.
Finches and other types of birds are also popular as pets.
One good thing about birds as pets is that they do not cost a great deal to feed.
Most birds are healthy if they are well-looked after and so don’t need too much attention from the vet.
They can be housed in a small cage which makes them suited to life in a flat or unit where there is no backyard.
If there is room you might want to allow them to live in an aviary.
But what about human interaction with birds as pets? Birds are essentially creatures of the wild so most do not like to be cuddled or petted.
However, it is possible to get a hatchling and hand-raise it, in which case it will think it is part of the family.
Cockatiels are known for their quiet and lovable nature and can be let out of the cage if all the windows in the house are kept shut.
They can be trained to sit on your shoulder and talk.
One problem is that most little children cannot be trusted to keep the doors or windows closed while the bird is out of the cage.
They forget, or get distracted and the next thing they know the bird has flown away.
It is rare to be able to catch it again, but sadly, it will not be able to live in the wild successfully for long.
It knows nothing about predators and how to avoid them.
Another con of having a bird for a pet is that you may not be able to have a cat. If you do, care must be taken to keep kitty away from birdie.
While children like birds, they usually don’t like cleaning up after them, but this is necessary or the bird will become diseased and die.
Excepting for birds like cockies, most birds to not live as long as a cat or dog.
A bird might be enjoyable to have around, but in most cases there will not be anywhere near the same kind of interaction as you would have with a dog or cat.
However, for children who like the idea of having a pet but don’t have much time to spend with it, a bird could be the ideal solution.
Many children have rabbits as pets and delight in cuddling those soft, furry creatures.
Rabbits do not have such high maintenance needs as dogs.
Certainly, they can be brushed if the child wants to do this, but it is not necessary.
They don’t need to be bathed or walked on a regular basis like dogs do. Neither do they take up much room.
A dog needs a biggish yard to play in or somewhere to run around on walks.
A rabbit is content to run around whatever size garden or yard you provide for it.
Many rabbits live in hutches and are let out for a few hours each day when the owner comes home from school.
Rabbits can be trained to come when you call by calling and offering food rewards on a regular basis.
However, most children don’t worry about training their rabbits.
They just provide a place for them to live, feed them and cuddle them.
A rabbit that has been well-socialised from a baby will happily accept all the cuddles the child wants to give it.
Rabbits are not expensive to keep as far as vets bills and food go.
Some dry food from the pet store and fresh vegetables and fruit along with grass from the lawn will keep your pet rabbit happy.
However, owning a rabbit for a pet has a few downsides. They are not really as friendly as a dog or cat.
Unlike a dog, most rabbits don’t come to you of their own accord and will often run away if disturbed by loud noise or movement.
They don’t rush up and wag their tail to greet you, nor will they chase a ball or play games with the children, especially not if they are rowdy.
It is necessary to protect your pet rabbit from predators such as other dogs or foxes that may come prowling around in the night.
It must be kept in a hutch at night and when it is let out, it may escape if the fence does not go right to the ground.
It can also dig holes in the lawn – or in the neighbour’s lawn.
When you nurse or cuddle a rabbit it is best to do so with a towel to protect you as rabbits tend to empty their bladders frequently rather like guinea pigs do.
A rabbit cannot be left to run around the house on its own as it is likely to chew cords or other things it finds interesting.
And it will leave a trail of droppings wherever it goes.
Many children love the idea of having a pet mouse or rat.
Rats and mice do make good pets for kids in many ways.
They don’t take up much room or cost much to feed.
They have to be kept inside which is good if you live in a flat or high-rise building.
needs of rodents are quite simple with a box or special cage that can
be easily cleaned all that is necessary - apart from food and water, of
Most rats or mice can be trained to be handled if you are quiet and gentle with them.
Rats are probably more intelligent than mice and easier to handle being rather larger.
A dedicated owner may be able to teach a rat some simple tricks.
They can be taken out of their cage and carried around – with a cloth for protection against their constant calls of nature.
It is necessary that during this time they should not be left alone as they will quickly disappear outside or into some tiny crevice and may never be found again.
If they are left to run around they might make friends with wild mice and be led astray.
Besides, they will leave a trail of droppings wherever they go, and chew things they should not touch.
Naturally such little animals should be cared for properly to keep them safe and healthy, but this is quite an easy task, even for a child.
Having one or more mice for pets can be fun for the child; often the parents are not so thrilled.
The same goes for reptiles.
Lizards and snakes are sometimes kept by kids for pets, but there is little love or interaction possible.
They cannot be said to be loving or friendly, although they can be trained to allow handling.
Most snakes have special needs such as a box that gives them extra warmth and darkness.
As far as housing goes, it does not take up much space, but that is all that can be said for reptiles.
Another problem with some is that they grow to an enormous size and can actually become dangerous.
If your child wants a snake for a pet, do try and discourage them.
Snakes and lizards are much happier out in the wild where they are meant to be.
Some kids might like frogs for pets but again, you can’t do much with a frog.
It needs proper accommodation with water, and special food to eat.
Offer your child a kitten instead. They will get more pleasure from it.
Before you buy a snake pet for your kids, make sure you read a good guide first for how to care for them. My guide below is excellent and will make sure you know what you are doing in the care of snakes.
Many children go through a stage of wanting a pony for a pet – and of course, not just for a pet, but to ride.
Learning to ride a horse will give your child a skill that will provide fun and exercise for the rest of their life.
However, owning a pony is more a lifestyle than just having a horse for a pet like you would have a dog for a pet.
Keeping a horse in the back yard of a suburban lot is impossible.
If you decide to give your child a horse for a pet you will need to have it stabled somewhere else and that means going there every day to take care of it and ride it.
But for those who live on some acres, having a horse is perfectly possible and should certainly be considered.
Your child can ride the horse across your property or may be able to find a bush track to ride along.
If the road is not busy it may be possible for them to ride their horse or pony along the verge.
Owning a pony is not inexpensive. When your child has a pony they will need to also have a saddle, bridle, saddle blanket, rugs, halter and many other things such as gear to brush it down with.
It is possible that they will want to ride it in shows or at a gymkhana.
This means you will have to own a truck or a horse float to transport it and all the tack to the venue.
And of course there is the cost of riding lessons.
Add to that the fact that a horse or pony is a large animal and will need lots of food.
It will need medicine to keep it healthy, shoes that cost to put on as well as to buy, a stable to house it safely, especially if you live in an area that snows, and many other things.
So it will cost an arm and a leg to own a horse and to ride it.
Another option could be a donkey or a Shetland pony for a pet. Both are smaller, but still too large for the average backyard.
However, these animals are not ridden to any great extent so you will save on the cost of saddles, transport or shows.
It would be more like having a dog for a pet.
Of course, the big attraction of having a pony or horse is in the riding of it, so your child may not like the idea of having such a pet.
A lot of times, problems with choosing the best pets for kids to have is the result of a lack of knowledge or understanding.
If this is the case, then you should take the time to begin researching the subject it is that you don’t know much about.
There is a lot of power and relief that comes from learning about various topics.
You’ll be surprised about how much a little research can help you with selecting the best children's pets.
Check them out below, and if you are considering buying any of these animals, you will be better able to make an informed choice that you won't regret later.
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