5 Best Small Pets to Consider for Your Child

5 Best Small Pets to Consider for Your Child

When you're looking to add a pet to your family, there are many options to choose from other than cats and dogs. Plenty of cuddly and furry pets are more compact, easier to care for, affordable, and don't require as much attention. Small pets are good options for children older than 5 because they can be a great way to teach responsibility, says Dr. Jennifer Graham, assistant professor at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. To decide which small animal might work as a family pet, you should do as much research as you would when choosing a larger pet. Some of the most popular small pets, such as hamsters and guinea pigs, might look similar but are very different in terms of their needs and how they interact with kids. But if you're looking for small pets that require less interaction and are just fun to watch, a gerbil or even a chinchilla might be right for your family. When deciding on a small pet for your family, consider these six options -- some traditional and some unusual -- and before you welcome the right pet into your home, keep in mind that each one has unique needs and characteristics.


5 Best Small Pets to Consider for Your Child

These spiny mammals may not make cuddly pets, but they are cute, friendly, and relatively long-lived, with a lifespan of five to seven years. And if hedgehogs are handled while still young, they will grow to be social with your child. A downside is that you might find yourself spending more money caring for them. "Hedgehogs require more care and are prone to more health problems than other small pets," says Dr. Quesenberry. "They have a higher incidence of disease and sometimes develop oral cancer and get mites, so your vet bills may be a bit higher for a hedgehog." Hedgehogs also require a different diet containing vegetables and special food with protein because they are omnivores. Sometimes cat food can fulfill the requirement, but you should consult your veterinarian. When considering getting a hedgehog as a pet, make sure to check your local state laws -- it's illegal to own these small mammals in certain states.

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Concerned Animal Lover said...

So you’re advocating the purchasing of small, cute and cuddly, wild animals for children. So what happens when that cute and cuddly hedgehog is full grown and not as adorable as it once was? How many people do you think are going to show the poor hedgehog the back door and how is going to be able to fend for itself since it’s been raised like a pet. Maybe if the hedgehog is lucky the owner will send it to a sanctuary for hurt and/or unwanted wildlife. Human beings already purchase animals such as puppies and kittens because they find them oh so adorable. But once the newness and cuteness has worn off or they get older or don’t fit into their schedule any longer, they get rid of them like an old piece of furniture. Don’t we have enough unwanted animals that are unfairly put to sleep every day or worse out in the street starving and being abused in this country?

Denise said...

As an owner of a small animal sanctuary I do not advocate small animals for children many small animals that children obtain as pets end up in our care as children become bored with them. Rabbits particularly are extremely complex creatures who can develop illnesses often very difficult to deal with for an inexperienced owner, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas are considered exotic pets and require veterinary treatment from an exotic pet specialist. Also because small animals are prey animals they hide sickness very well and often even before an experienced owner knows they are ill it is critical. Animals are living creatures not toys for children to play with.

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