Maybe you’ve been looking at adding a four legged friend to your family, maybe you just saw one of the new kb homes and decided that big back yard needs a dog in it to run around with your kids, or maybe you wandered past the fish tanks at the local super center and your toddler fell in love with the beautifully finned Betta fish. Whatever the reason for your decision, you’re ready to make the commitment to getting a pet. Before you jump in with leashes, tanks, or cages, here are the top 5 pet options to consider for kids.
Many people consider dogs to be the ultimate pet of childhood. Depending on the breed and temperament of the dog in question, this can definitely be true. With a high level of loyalty and a tremendous capacity for affection, a good dog can be a child’s bosom friend and unswerving confidant. Dogs are particularly suited to active children since they need to have daily exercise and generally love to get it through play. Be sure to choose a dog that suits your home and your lifestyle, some dogs need a lot more space than others.
Cats with a gentle disposition can be one of the best pets for children. They like to cuddle and can enjoy playing quietly. These feline friends are often best suited to children who are themselves gentle. Cats can form very loving relationships with their people and typically live about 15 years, making them a long-term addition to your home. Many children find the unique personalities of cats endearing and fun. They are a wonderful pet for the family home.
If you’re looking for a low maintenance pet, you can’t get much better than a fish. They require regular cleanings of their tank, and feeding, but other than that they are pretty much a hands off option. There are so many beautiful fish options available that you can outfit an entire aquarium with brightly colored fish or go with a single specimen, such as a Betta, that need to live alone. Many people find fish soothing. So if you have a child that struggles with anxiety, fish can prove to be a very relaxing pet.
Birds are such a wide category that it’s not possible to list all of the options, but here are a few things to consider if you’re looking for a feathered friend. Chickens make fantastic pets! They are often only considered a “livestock” animal, but chickens are both beautiful and smart. And often, very, very friendly. Your children can develop a close relationship with their chicken and have a lot of delight watching them run to them during feeding. Another bird option is to adopt the birds in your neighborhood. Once you start feeding the birds around your home, you’ll develop a loyal following. Be mindful though, once you start feeding the birds in your yard they will become accustomed to the food supply and may be harmed if you stop feeding them. If you ever do decide to stop, lessen your daily ration gradually so that they can adjust to finding a new food source.
Eek! I know, most people don’t want to have a rat in their home, but rats are incredibly intelligent and entertaining. They can learn tricks and often develop a bond with their owner. They are a small animal so it’s important for children to handle them gently. Rats don’t live quite as long as other pets do, usually only about 3 years, so they are a good option if you’re not ready for the longer commitment that a dog or cat requires.
A pet can add fun and provide an opportunity for a family to connect on a common goal and add many happy memories to your family home. Have fun with your new furry, finned, or feathered friend!
Images courtesy of dogvacay.com, boredpal.com, kidcyber.com.au, decaturhomes247.com, and exoticpets.about.com