It is an inevitable fact that every child will ask for a pet at some point. You may think that getting a young child a pet may not be the best idea, but that might not be so.
A pet is a great way to teach your child responsibility and how to take care of something. A pet is a friend, and a pet is something to have fun with. Instead of saying no to your child, the trick is to get them the right kind of pet because some are easier to take care of than others.
One of our personal favorites in terms of first pet choices for any child is a hamster. Keep in mind, you can kind of switch out a hamster for a mouse, rat, guinea pig, or any rodent from the pet store. They may be different animals, but they all have more or less the same requirements in terms of caretaking.
Taking care of a hamster is pretty simple. Even if your child is too young to take care of everything by himself, the work you have to do is not all that hard. Also, if your child is old enough, they can even take care of it themselves, or at least with your oversight.
The only things that you really need to do with a hamster is feed it twice a day with some pellets, keep the water full, and change the bedding material every now and then. The bedding will include the hamster’s waste, but that is something you will have to get used to.
All you need for a hamster is a cage, some bedding material, a water dispenser, some hamster food pellets, and a wheel. That is literally it!
Hamsters can make for great little pet for your child. They aren’t very aggressive so biting is not really an issue. They are soft, cuddly, and nice to snuggle with. Watching them run around in their wheel is oddly entertaining. It’s a great first pet that is fun and entertaining, cheap to maintain, easy to take care of. It might even teach your child some responsibility too.
A Betta Fish
A betta fish, or any fish for that matter is another super cool first pet for your child. A fish is a little different than a hamster, so keep that in mind. To start out with all of the positives, fish are really extraordinary creatures, ones which many people pick as favorite pets. You can find some cool starter betta kits on Aquascapeaddiction.
They are extremely fun to watch for hours on end because they’re always swimming around and managing to find new entertaining things to do. A big favorite for many people is the fact that fish can be very relaxing because they live in such a serene and peaceful environment.
There is also something about the constant noise that an aquarium filter makes that many people love. An aquarium can be a great sleep aid thanks to the babbling brook effect, plus the fish need light. A fish tank makes a pretty good night light too. Fish are great for kids for all of those reasons. They are peaceful, fun to watch, soothing and relaxing, and they are a great sleep aid too.
With that being said, a fish is a little harder to take care of than a hamster, but it’s nowhere near as hard taking care of another child! You will spend a little bit more money on a fish than a hamster too. If you buy a betta fish for example, you will need to get a special betta tank, a protein skimmer, (they help keep the tank clean), a filter, a light, and plants and rocks.
You’re going to need to change the water, clean the filter, and clean waste out of the tank. Though a fish may be a little more expensive and a little more time consuming to take care of, many consider them great pets and would not choose any other pet. They are really rewarding because you get to see an entire world flourish; one which you nourish.
A fish is also a great way to teach your child responsibility through feeding and cleaning which they will need to learn for the future anyway. Even though they may take some work, both you and your child will absolutely love a neat little betta fish.
Another great first pet for any family is a cat. Cats can make a wonderful pet for any child because they are fun to play with and to watch. Unlike some of the other animals on this list, a cat is an animal that you can really play and interact with.
They love to play with boxes, love balls and string, and they like playing chase around the house too. Cats are a really fun animal choice. Most cats are child friendly too. Just be sure to do your research and supervise your child with the cat, so he doesn’t try to pull her tail.
Unless you get some kind of exotic breed, cats are not that expensive, nor do they require a lot of expensive equipment. Some food, bowls, a scratching post, and a litter box is really all you need. If you are getting a cat for your child, I recommend keeping it indoors as it will be safer than one that is an indoor/outdoor cat.
Cats are fairly easy to take care of too, so having your 3 or 6 year old do all of the hard work is more or less irrelevant. Daily feedings and regular litter box changes are the extent of the maintenance when it comes to a cat, although some trips to the vets and vaccinations will be necessary. If you do already have a cat at home, you’ll find this post about introducing a new cat to other cats helpful.
Another kind of animal you could get as a first pet for your child is a pet bird. Something small like a cockatiel or a lovebird is fine for a child’s first pet. Birds are really cool creatures to have in your home. Keep in mind, the type of bird you get and the choices you make in terms of its limits will determine how much fun your child gets out of them.
Birds are a little difficult because you need to decide whether to clip their wings or not. Birds without clipped wings can fly around your home, something which both the bird and your child will definitely appreciate. However, a bird that can fly is also one that can escape, and it will probably make a mess in your home too. Birds love to fly, so if you don’t mind the mess, it’s best to leave their wings as they are.
Another choice to make is whether you want a bird that can learn to talk. This has positives and negatives to it. A bird that can talk is a very fun thing for your kid and for you. There’s nothing better than teaching a bird something cool to say.
On the other hand, a talking bird is potentially an annoying bird. On that same note, birds are pretty loud, so don’t expect peace and quiet like with a hamster or fish, but there is an easy solution. Just put a blanket on the cage and the birds will think it’s night time and go right to sleep.
On a positive note, birds are relatively easy to take care of. They clean themselves, so all you really need to do is change the bedding in the cage, provide clean water and feed it. Birds are some of the best first pets to get for your child because they help teach responsibility by caring for something. They are very fun and entertaining, can be interactive, and are quite easy to care for too.
Whatever your choice of first pet for your child may be, just make sure that they like it too!