So the kids want their first pet. It’s a lot of responsibility (for kids and parents)! Instead of going straight to the pound to pick a puppy…consider a few points on choosing the best pet for your family.
Cats & Dogs. The most traditional of pets. Great friends. However, cats & dogs require a lot of care: walking, feeding, brushing & bathing. Plus, there are allergy possibilities for other members of the family. Going on a family trip? The cat or dog will need kennelling or day care while you’re gone.
Remember that cute puppies grow so keep size in mind when choosing a dog. If you want a Great Dane ensure you have enough space to properly house the dog.
Pregnant women should be careful of contracting Toxoplasmosis from cats – an infection which can cause miscarriage.
REQUIREMENTS: Cage, bed, food/water bowls, leash, collar, medical visits, shots and toys.
Frogs, lizards, snakes and turtles. Amphibians and reptiles are popular pet choices for kids (they have a cool factor). However, remember these pets require specific constant heating and environment – they are not hardy to North American winters.
With no fur to sneeze about, amphibians and reptiles are great for allergen sensitive families but reptiles can carry salmonella so hand washing after touching is essential.
Some reptiles eat live food so when choosing a reptile consider the responsibility of having a constant supply of live crickets or worms.
REQUIREMENTS: Tank, heat, water, food, medical visits.
Hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice. Your mammal pets. Furry, cuddly, tickly and lovable. Hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice are good starter pets because they take up little space but make for lots of fun.
If you choose to get two pets of different sexes…remember that these little creatures multiply fast.
Also, remember that rodents chew. A lot. (Aside: rabbits are also known for chewing)
REQUIREMENTS: Cage, food/water, medical visits, spinning wheel.
Ant Farm. Don’t laugh – an ant farm is a great starter pet(s) for kids. They are hardy. Require little space. Don’t require walking. Ant colonies can teach your child about eco-systems, environment and team work.
REQUIREMENTS: Queen ant and workers. Ant habitat. Tunneling sand. Food.
Fish. Fish are great starter pets for kids. No allergens. Takes up little space. No poop and scooping required.
When considering a fish, talk to your local pet expert to research the best type of fish for your family. Not all fish get along together (read: fighter fish) so you want to ensure you buy fish that can co-exist in harmony.
Fish are a favourite class pet because kids can take on fish responsibility so well.
REQUIREMENTS: Tank, filter, thermometer, flaked fish food.
When choosing the best pet for your family it’s easy to be lured in by cute balls of fur. Taking into consideration a few key points, like your family’s needs, your child’s commitment and your space, should help avoid unhappiness for everyone and a new addition to your family. Remember, pets aren’t like toys that can be returned if you child loses interest in a few days.