Pets can be great fun for all the family! Millions of families bring cats, dogs, hamsters and birds into their lives, and they soon become family members in their own right. If you’re already an animal lover and are raising a young family, you may well have been considering what the best pets for kids are. Which pets are easiest to look after? Which have the best temperaments? Which are the most affordable?
Finding suitable pets for your family isn’t always simple. While there are plenty of animals which are friendly towards children and all members of the family, you’re also going to need to think carefully about your own kids’ temperaments. It’s always a good idea to carefully scope out potential pets to introduce to your home.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at the very best pets for kids of all ages – from toddlers all the way up to teenagers. Stuck for ideas as to which feathered or furry friends you’d like to introduce to your family? This guide was written with you in mind!
What Makes a Good Pet for Kids?
Regardless of which animals make good pets for kids, there are a few things you are going to need to bear in mind before you bring any animals into your home.
- Do you have a regular schedule which you can fit around caring for an animal?
- Are you able to exercise your new pet(s) on a regular basis?
- Do you have space for new pets or a back garden where they can let off steam?
- Can you afford to feed and care for pets? This includes vet bills and more besides.
- Do your kids understand the importance of being gentle around animals? Have you discussed safety with your family?
Chances are, if you’ve gotten to the stage where you are about to adopt a pet and are considering the best fit for your family and home, you will probably have considered the money, time and effort involved in caring for an animal. However, it never hurts to plan too much!
In this guide, we will be looking at fantastic starter pets for kids and animals which are perhaps less demanding than you may imagine. That doesn’t mean a cat or a dog will be a good fit! After all, all families and households are different. It’s going to need to be a decision that you make together – kids included!
Your home should be a calm, safe and welcoming environment for pets. Easy pets for kids are those which are fun, simple to care for and which can be brought into your family schedule with ease. Without further ado, let’s look at some examples of ideal family pets!
Low Maintenance Pets for Kids
Low maintenance pets for kids are a great place to start if you have young children or a busy lifestyle. Some pets, such as dogs and exotic animals, need greater care and attention. Other pets, while they still require love and care, are easy to house and are affordable to feed and look after from day to day. Here are some easy pets for kids you might want to consider from the outset.
Guinea pigs are a massive hit with kids everywhere. They’re cute, they’re fluffy, and they’re full of beans! This affectionate little critters can be extremely lively but are easily entertained with a spacious cage, plenty of water and food, and good ventilation. Guinea pigs are social animals – which means you will always do best to buy a pair rather than one on its own. Pets can get lonely when they’re not around their own kind!
Guinea pigs are very affordable to care for and won’t need the extensive cleaning or exercise many other family pets demand. Their lifespan is generally expected to reach anywhere up to six years.
Rabbits are friendly, good-natured and very easy to look after. They are good pets for young kids as they can be fascinating to watch and safe to pet. However, there are many different types of rabbit available for adoption, which means you should ideally take care when adopting a bunny for the first time. Why not take a look at your local adoption centre and see if there are any rabbits available who will be a perfect fit for a family with kids?
Pet rabbits can live to up to 12 years of age with proper care and attention. Providing you offer your bunny a spacious enclosure, plenty of nutritional food, water and vet care, you’ll have a bunny in your life for years to come.
Yes, some cats can be unpredictable, and some can be aloof at times – but it’s their goofy, ultimately loving nature which helps to make them such brilliant pets for kids. Cats are very much free-roaming creatures, which means they can be left to their own devices for much of the time. Providing they have regular sources of water and food, they won’t require additional exercise beyond a few toys and regular affection.
Some cats are better housebound, while others have grown up freely wandering in and out. That means it isn’t unheard of for pet cats to go wandering the neighbourhood occasionally. Cats are great fun for kids, though are perhaps best reserved for older children. They can live to a ripe old age, with 18 years generally being expected fo them.
Best Small Pets for Kids
Some of the best easy care pets for kids are those which fit in the palm of your hand! When looking for the best small pets for kids, you must make sure your children understand how important it is to be careful with tiny critters. Introducing animals into your home means instilling a system of respect and love. Small pets are fragile!
Hamsters are fantastic pets for kids. They are nocturnal creatures, which means you may not always see too much of them during the day. They are simple beasts, very easy to look after and are happy with shredded bedding, a water spout, fresh food and some toys to play with. Kids will love seeing hamsters scurry through mazes and running on wheels and in portable pet balls!
Syrian hamsters are perhaps the most common to adopt in the UK. These creatures prefer to be solitary. Russian Dwarf hamsters, however, are smaller, more active and prefer to have a friend or two for company.
Hamsters are full of character and can be very affectionate, but they require a lot of gentle care. A hamster will generally be expected to live for two to three years.
Mice and Gerbils
While wild mice can be a real pest if they’re uninvited, pet mice make for some of the best pets for kids. They’re low maintenance pets for kids much in the same way as hamsters. They need simple food, water, bedding and maybe a friend or two and they’re happy. Kids will love their active, happy temperament and they can even be trained!
However, as with gerbils, they can scurry about and get loose. It’s therefore a good idea to arrange a safe enclosure for your rodents to make sure they don’t get lost or cause any damage. Mice are wonderful pets for kids and are very affordable to look after. Rodents will generally live for up to three years.
Best Indoor Pets for Kids
We’ve already covered plenty of indoor pets, but we’ve held out on a few you may not have considered. In fact, there’s one big contender you’re probably looking for – but wonder no more!
We’re a nation of dog lovers. Dogs make some of the best pets for kids thanks to their loving temperament and their willingness to learn, as well as their boundless energy for fun and play. They need plenty of exercise from breed to breed, but there are plenty of breeds of dog which can be looked after indoors with regular walks throughout the days and weeks. Most dogs can be left alone for short periods of time, however they are likely to be a more suitable pet for families who are around at home for large periods of time. So a dog could be an ideal pet to keep you company if you work from home for example. As well as making sure you are not tied to your desk all day and get out for some exercise and fresh air!
Dogs, however, vary from breed to breed and from animal to animal. Canines show incredible personality, which means you are going to need to choose carefully when you come to make your adoption. Choose a dog which has a proven track record with children, and which has a calm, loving temperament. Dogs can live for 14-15 years, generally, but this may vary on the breed and size of the animal. Our friends at Doggy Dream Team have an excellent article discussing the cost of owning a dog.
Plenty of breeds of bird make for great pets for kids. Some breeds, such as budgies, cockatoos and canaries, are happy to flutter about in large cages, preening in mirrors and pecking away at seed. Plenty of birds ideal for adoption get on well in their own company, while others will prefer one or two feathered friends to live with.
Providing they are supervised, kids will find birds to be safe and fascinating pets to keep. Birds can be sensitive and have a tendency to peck and scratch – which means they may be a better fit for older children. Birds, too, can live for years on end – though it will vary from species to species.
Best Reptile Pets for Kids
Don’t ever discount scaly pets for kids! Some of the best reptile pets for kids are easy to look after and fascinating to keep and care for. Not all of them are scary, either! Reptiles and amphibians make really rewarding pets. They make some of the best exotic pets available to adopt right now.
Tortoises are perhaps the easiest reptiles to look after. Slow, humble and with very few demands, they are affordable and can live for decades on end. That does mean that they are going to need solid commitment – however, they are immensely undemanding.
Tortoises are great for kids as they are slow, simple and friendly. They’re very easy to feed and it’s easy to maintain an enclosure for them.
Ever considered getting your kids a pet snake? We’re not talking about pythons or boa constrictors here! Start them off with a simple corn snake. Corn snakes are friendly and are completely harmless. They’re also very docile, and they can therefore make for great family pets.
However, they will need considerable looking-after. This means ensuring they have a vivarium or enclosed which is big enough for them to be comfortable in, and they will need a certain amount of temperature and light to be able to thrive. You’re also going to need to make sure that any corn snake enclosure is airtight – as they do have a tendency to escape!
Bearded dragons are wonderful starter pets for kids. These reptiles are amazingly tame and friendly, and what’s more, they tend to be easier to look after than the majority of other exotic pets. They are likely to be a great fit for older kids who are keen to learn more about some of the more curious critters out there.
Other Great Pets for Kids
Ever thought about some of the more exotic or unique pets for kids out there? Here’s a round-up of some of the other creatures you might consider introducing the family to.
- Fish – some of the best pet fish for kids are those of all exotic shapes and colours. Goldfish are a good starting point, but why not go a little more exotic? Fish are easy to look after day to day, but you’ll need to correctly filter out water and find the best food for their diets.
- Spiders – who says spiders have to be scary? Even some of the bigger beasties, such as tarantulas, are remarkably good-natured and are completely harmless. They’re also very easy to look after and can be left to their own devices.
- Hedgehogs – while it’s not always recommended that you take a wild hedgehog in, these snuffling little critters can be very friendly and require little in the way of looking after. However, don’t ever approach a wild animal in the hopes of taming it.
Which Pets Are Best For Your Family?
The best pets for kids – your kids – are ones which will not only fit your routine and tastes but ones which you can show the care and attention they deserve. Pets can be great fun – and it’s important to make sure your kids understand how to properly respect and care for their new friends. Why not take a look at your nearest adoption centre to get started?