Best Small Pets for Your Kids

Having a small pet can not only be a fun and exciting experience for kids, but for the entire family as well. With all the adorably tiny options, it can be difficult to determine whether your family’s new addition should have fins or fur. Today, we’ll talk about some of the best small pets for your kids, and touch pets for certain age groups.

After all, some pets need massive amounts of care and attention, while others prefer to be left alone. It all depends on how much time and effort you’re willing to put forth to become a pet owner.

So, where will you start? We’ve listed 7 great small starter pets for your kids:

Fish

They’re perfect for kids with allergies, take up very little space and are pretty low maintenance. Goldfish are considered great pets for children because they are relatively low maintenance. In addition, a “beginner” goldfish is only a few dollars, a container of food lasts a long time, and they are quiet and basically odorless. Really, the only downside to a fish is that it is not a hands-on type of pet.

Guinea Pig

Tame and cuddly, guinea pigs rarely bite and unlike other rodents, they are awake and play during the day and sleep at night. They make excellent first pets for older children, with adult supervision. Besides feeding and cleaning the cage, your child’s number-one job is playing with her new friend, something guinea pigs reward with a variety of squeaks.

Hamsters

Have a child 6 or older? Consider a hamster — they’re busy critters that are fun to watch and love being held. They’re also nocturnal and, if woken up during the day, may nip, so supervise any handling. Kids can be hands-on with a hamster. Let them help clean the cage; play and hand-tame their critter; and supply twigs for chewing and walnuts, apples and raisins for snacks.

Rabbit

A great indoor pet for the right family, rabbits love to be held, come when called and can be trained to use a litter box. They do like to chew, though, so cover up any electric cords. Let children play with the bunny, change its litter box and bedding, and replenish food and water.

Ferret

Have an older kid? Ferrets make a great pet for tweens and teens, since they’re playful, engaging, fastidious and friendly. They’re most active just before sunrise and shortly after sunset and also love to chew. Keep an eye on them when they’re not in their cage, they like to explore! Kids can be responsible for feeding, cleaning the cage and litter box, and bathing the ferret once a month.

Gerbil

Gerbils are calm little creatures that seldom bite and are hearty and active during the day. Since they require gentle handling, they’re recommended for older children. They’re happiest in pairs, but don’t keep opposite sexes together or they’ll breed. Let kids handle the feeding; preparing leafy greens, lettuce, spinach and carrots; and cleaning the cage daily and washing it weekly.

Mice

Mice are active, curious, charming pets. Since they require gentle handling, they’re not recommended for children under 4 without adult supervision. And be careful about which gender you buy. Females play nice together, but males, when introduced as adults, will fight. Also, avoid housing males and females together — they’ll breed quickly. Give kids hands-on tasks, like hand-taming, feeding, and cleaning the cage daily and washing it once a week.