Best pets for families

9 of the Best Pets for Families with Kids

Are you thinking about getting a pet for your family? Do you have small kids at home and are nervous about what animals will and will not work well with them? Well, this list is a great source of ideas and a perfect place to start when searching for the best pets for families with kids.

1) Dogs

Of course dogs would be at the top of this list! Everyone loves dogs and they’re the ultimate family pet. However, there are some breeds that are best for families with kids due to their durability, energy levels, and maintenance.

Bull dogs, despite societies misconceptions, are amazing family pets. They’re loyal, protective, are built like bricks walls, and require very little maintenance aside from cleaning their faces.

2) Pigs

This is an unlikely addition to this list but pigs are seriously great family pets. Much like a bull dog, they’re built strong and can stand up to the rough housing kids often do. They’re just as clean, or even cleaner at times, as dogs and are super playful.

3) Hamsters

Sadly, hamster became a common family pet because they don’t live that long. They’re branded as the “starter pet”, but really should be taken more seriously than that. Hamsters are fun, playful, and can teach younger kids minor responsibilities.

4) Guinea Pigs

In same the light as hamsters, guinea pigs often get chosen as the starter pet. But they’re even better than hamsters! Bigger, fluffier, and more playful. Sounds good to me! My kids loved their guinea pig.

5) Fish

A simple goldfish would do, but you can spruce up the tank with angel fish, bottom feeders, and clown fish. The kids love watching them and you can teach a little bit of responsibility with the feedings and cleaning of the tanks.

6) Birds

Although a lot of people find birds to be annoying and loud, they make really great family pets. They interact well with other birds, are easy to clean up after, and some breeds, such as budgies and parrots, can be taught to speak. Canaries and finches are really playful and are great with small kids.

7) Cats

There are dog people and then there are cat people. So, for those of you who prefer the feline variety, a cat would make an excellent family pet. They basically clean up after themselves, require very little training, and are super cuddly.

8) Snakes

Snakes are incredibly low maintenance and make a great first time, starter pet for families with kids. Corn snakes and ball pythons are the best. They only require to be fed once a week, cage cleaning once per month, and no special cleaners required. And despite what most people think, snakes very rarely bite unless starved or taunted.

9) Turtle

You never have to worry about these guys running away. They’re easy to take care of and live a long time. Turtles are resilient and co-exist really well with other turtles. Great family pet.

And that about wraps it up! There are tons of great first time pets or best pets for families with kids, but this list sums up the most common species to consider first.

Of course, if you’re ever in doubt, you can always go see your local pet care provider or quality pet store. They’ll have tons of information about what pet would be great for your particular household.

At Fetch!, we love caring for animals. We offer services like pet sitting, puppy training, and even administering medications to make your busy days less stressful for you and your pet.

Find a Fetch! location near you.

These Are the Best Pets for Kids at Each Age

As many adults know, caring for a pet is a rewarding and satisfying experience. And, adopting a pet that a child can also help take care of can be an enriching experience for your kid.  

“It teaches empathy and responsibility. Being responsible for another animal … understanding that other things are relying on you to stay healthy and survive,” says Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM and owner of the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics in Bedford Hills, New York. She adds, “Many of these animals are very smart and will give that unconditional love back to you.

Make Sure Your Kids are on Board With the Type of Pet and Work Involved

As with any pet, when you are looking for the best pets for kids, you want to have a very clear idea of the pet care requirements.

“You have to be educated,” says Dr. Hess. Particularly with exotic pets, you need to know what you are getting into and what to expect from them. Dr. Hess explains, “Often people get frustrated and very disappointed in these animals because [the experience] isn’t what they expected.”

When it comes to choosing the best pets for the kids in your family, it is important that everyone is on the same page. Everyone in the family needs to be willing to actively help with the care of the pet.

Dr. Elizabeth Mackey, veterinarian and owner of Mackey Exotic Animal Clinic in Watkinsville, Georgia, explains that it is important that your children are on board with the pet you decide to get. They need to be just as invested in the well-being and happiness of the pet as you are.

And most importantly, you need to be comfortable with whichever pet you decide to get. So if you are deathly afraid of snakes, they probably are not the best pets for your kids, even if the kids have their heart set on one.

What to Consider When Choosing Pets for Kids

So, how should you go about finding a good match? Both Dr. Mackey and Dr. Hess recommend booking a consultation appointment with a veterinarian who is experienced in the care of the species you are considering.

Consider bringing a list of animals you’re interested in so you can discuss each one and determine what the best pet for your family would be. Some factors to take into consideration include:

  1. Life span of the pet. Kids can get very attached to their pets, so you will need to consider your child’s emotional attachment when choosing pets for kids. However, by a choosing a pet with a longer life span, you will also need to keep in mind that once your child leaves for college or work, you may have to become the sole provider for your family pet.

  2. Space needs. Do you have adequate room (e.g., living space, yard space, etc.) for your chosen pet? You will also need to consider how a pet will grow and if you can accommodate them at their largest adult size.

  3. Care requirements and needs. Talk with your veterinarian about the care requirements for each pet you are considering. Can your family share pet care tasks in a manageable way? Are you financially prepared to take good care of the pet?

  4. Health care costs. All pets require veterinary care. You will need to make sure there is a veterinarian in your area that can help with your chosen pet. If you choose an exotic pet, you can start by looking at the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians. You will also need to make sure that you are financially ready to take on a pet’s health care costs.

  5. What does your child want when it comes to interactions with their pet? “Some of them want [a pet] that they can play with. And, most children want that hands-on interaction,” says Dr. Mackey. “There are some children who would rather have the cool, unique [pet] and not so much the hands-on.”

  6. Is your potential new pet nocturnal or diurnal? This could influence where you want to your pet’s enclosure to reside.

  7. Consider your child’s personality. Is your child calm enough to handle a more fragile creature? You have to consider the pet’s needs and your child’s ability to respect those needs.

  8. What are you going to do if your child loses interest in the pet? It is never acceptable to let an animal suffer because a child cannot or will not take care of it anymore. Are you going to be able to take on all responsibility for the pet’s care (including their emotional needs) or will you find the pet a new, loving home?

You’ll also want to meet your pet in person so you can get a feel for each other. Dr. Mackey cautions that while some pet store employees are highly knowledgeable, others are not, so your veterinarian is the best resource when it comes to determining care requirements for your pet.

After you bring your pet home, you’ll want to book an appointment with your veterinarian immediately so they can assess your pet and then provide you with recommendations on how to best care for them.

Best Pets for Kids Ages 4-7


Parakeets (also called budgies) can be a good option when it comes to pets for kids. “They’re fairly low-maintenance, not super messy and don’t take up a lot of space,” says Dr. Hess. She explains that by the age of 7, children start to understand how to be gentle with pets and can actively engage in their bird’s care.

Parakeets are known to be very affectionate, and they respond well to regular, gentle handling. With training, a parakeet can learn dozens or more words, so your child can actively engage with them in a fun and unique way.

A parakeet is a great pet for kids who are able to respect the small bird’s size. They will not do well with children who handle them roughly or act unpredictably and startle them frequently.

However, if you are willing to work with your child to help them learn how to positively interact with their pet parakeet, Dr. Hess says that these birds can help teach children how to be calm and patient.

When it comes to the everyday care of a parakeet, the parents should take care of the daily cage cleanings, but children can help out with other tasks like washing and filling up the food and water dish and feeding vegetables as a treat.

It is important to remember that parakeets can live into their teens, so this pet would be a long-term commitment.

Crested Gecko

If you are comfortable with lizards in your home, then a fun and unique pet to consider is the crested gecko.

“Little kids love the gecko because he just sits there in your hand,” says Dr. Mackey. “They’re a cool, cool lizard. They’re the softest animal you will ever touch. Feet stick to the glass on the container. But, they’re nocturnal. You can see them during the daytime, but the evening/early morning is the best time to see them.”

While these little guys can be handled and have some quirky characteristics, you will need to work with your child to be gentle with them. A young crested gecko will need time to adapt to their living situations before you can start conditioning them to be handled, which can take three to four weeks.

Once you do start handling them, you must teach your child to be very gentle, because crested geckos will “drop” (lose) their tails if startled or made to feel threatened.

The care of the crested gecko can be split up between family members. Children can help with mixing a crested gecko’s powdered food with water and how to measure it out. Dr. Mackey says that a child can also help with setting up their terrarium.

Keep in mind that you will need to teach your children to wash their hands after handling their gecko because reptiles tend to carry Salmonella bacteria more frequently than some other species of pets.

Best Pets for Kids Ages 8-11


They may not be your immediate thought when it comes to pets, but rats can be great pets for kids. “Rats are phenomenal animals,” says Dr. Hess. “Rats are generally very loving and bonded to their owners. They’re gentle. They’re a little tougher.” Dr. Hess explains that once kids have a longer attention span, rats can be an ideal pet.

A pet rat can help an older child to “understand that there’s some kind of schedule to their day,” says Dr. Hess. They can add structure and responsibilities that can help children grow to be more thoughtful. For instance, they might have a morning task to feed the rat before going to school.

Pet rats are also affectionate pets that, when socialized, love interactions with their humans. They can show excitement when they sense (sight, smell and sound) their human’s presence, and some will even cuddle. But they also like to have a cage mate, so you should be prepared to have more than one.

When it comes to caring for pet rats, there are many activities that kids can get involved with. Besides helping feed their pet rats pellets and small veggies, kids can replenish water, clean the water bottle and spot-clean the cage.

Kids can help with the mental and physical enrichment of pet rats by setting up mazes for them to explore. They can also create foraging toys and places to hide using toilet paper tubes, which the rats can also chew on.

Rats are very intelligent and can be trained, so your child can actively bond with their pet rat and try to teach them a whole host of tricks.

Dr. Mackey does caution that rats tend to eat everything you give them and can easily become overweight, so you will have to work with your child to ensure you find the right balance between food and exercise.

However, rats tend to only live for about three years, so you will have to be prepared to have a tough conversation with your child if you choose to have a pet rat while they are still very young.

Canaries and Finches

Canaries and finches are ideal pets for kids because they don’t have to be handled a lot. However, they usually prefer the company of others, so you will need to be prepared to have multiple birds. These birds are flock animals and tend to do better when they’re in a group, says Dr. Mackey.

Canaries “can be a little skittish. But if they’re kept happy, they’ll sing, and it’s beautiful,” says Dr. Hess. “Many people appreciate small birds for their beauty.” She explains, “Finches are fun to watch. They’re very active.” But finches will not sing, like the canary, so if you are looking for a quiet bird, finches may be a good option.

Canaries and finches can be great options for kids who would like to observe more than interact with their pets. While, with patience, canaries can be taught to perch on a finger, most finches prefer not to be handled, so your child will have limited opportunities to physically interact with their finches.

Canaries are not the hardiest of pets, either; they “have to be kept safe and away from other pets. They’re fragile,” says Dr. Hess.

Kids can help out with cage cleaning and providing fresh food and water for the bird. Your child can also be responsible for removing the bird cage cover in the mornings, changing the paper at the bottom of the cage and vacuuming around the cage.

Canaries and finches have a long life span—10-15 years in captivity—so you and your child will need to be prepared to provide care for them well into their teen years.

Guinea Pigs

Everyone has heard about guinea pigs as pets, and some even consider them to be good class pets. Guinea pigs are popular pets for kids because of their size and manageable care requirements. “They’re pretty calm. They’re adorable,” says Dr. Hess. “They’re not high maintenance. They’re fairly hardy.”

Guinea pigs generally enjoy being around humans and will actively engage and interact with you. They are willing to sit calmly in a child’s lap and will even vocalize their excitement when their favorite human is around.

There are also a wide variety of guinea pig breeds to choose from, so your family can find one that fits what you are all looking for in a pet.

If your child can handle additional responsibility, you can consider getting a long-haired guinea pig; they can help with brushing the guinea pig and making sure the hair doesn’t get matted, says Dr. Hess. Children can also actively participate in keeping the cage tidy and providing the guinea pig with fresh hay, salad and pellets.

“Guinea pigs are really social animals. They do better when there’s more than one,” says Dr. Mackey. But if you get another guinea pig, that’s twice the cage space and twice the expense.

Guinea pigs tend to live 5-7 years, so they are an option if you are looking for a moderate commitment in terms of life span.

Best Pets for Kids Ages 12-15


Rabbits can be great pets for kids, but you have to be prepared to be very involved in your rabbit’s care.

“They’ve very, very loving,” says Dr. Hess. “They live a long time. They can be very bonded to their owners. They can be gentle.”

Both Dr. Mackey and Dr. Hess point out that rabbits can startle easily and can be very fragile; they can bite and jump and injure themselves, so they should only be handled by a child with a calm demeanor.

Despite their reputation as low-maintenance starter pets, rabbits are actually better suited for older children that understand how to be responsible with the care of their pet. They are very social creatures that crave attention from their owners and will require a significant time and care commitment.

If your family is ready to take on the care of a rabbit, then you will find that they make great companions. They are curious and playful and will provide your child with a loving pet that enjoys their company.

Since these pets are best for older children, your child can be actively involved in their care. They can ensure the litter box is cleaned, provide the rabbit with fresh hay, replace paper-based bedding and clean their cages. They can also help you pick out vegetables for your rabbit.

Rabbits also need to spend time out of their cages, so you can use this as an opportunity to bond with your child as you both watch the rabbit explore his surroundings safely. 

Keep in mind that rabbits could potentially be attacked or harmed by other animals and will probably need to be kept in their own separate space.

Domestic rabbits tend to live 8-12 years, so they will be long-term commitments for your family.

Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs, while common, are major commitments when it comes to time, money and responsibility.

When children are taught how to properly interact with cats and dogs, they can play a very active role in the care of these pets. “They understand responsibilities and consequences. They have to participate in the care. That’s part of the deal,” says Dr. Hess. “Picking up dog poop isn’t so much fun. It’s something that you have to do.”

Children can take responsibility for a variety of care tasks for a pet dog or cat. Younger kids can give fresh food and water and wash towels and bedding, and tweens and teens can take dogs out on walks, change the cat litter, and even help out with teeth brushing.

Dogs and cats can live to be well over 10 years old (some for 20 years or even more), so they are long-term commitments.

Bearded Dragons

If you have older children who are looking for a more unique pet, consider a bearded dragon. According to Dr. Mackey, bearded dragons are the “world’s greatest lizards… because they’re fairly hardy [and] because they don’t bite often. I won’t say that they won’t, but they don’t, typically.”

Bearded dragons are reptiles that enjoy being handled and held, so if your child is looking for a reptile that they can actively engage with, they are a great option.

In terms of responsibilities, your older child can take an active role in the care of their bearded dragon, from feeding and cleaning to socialization and enrichment. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the housing requirements for a bearded dragon’s well-being are a bit more intricate. They require special UV lighting and temperature controls, and sometimes live feedings.

But luckily, your older child can help with changing the bulbs before they burn out, measuring the temperature of the cage (which needs to be kept at specific levels) and feeding insects to your bearded dragon.

Be aware that bearded dragons tend to be more expensive to care for than other pets, due in part to the insect diet and special lighting, says Dr. Mackey.

Bearded dragons tend to live 5-8 years but can live to be up to 10 years old when provided with optimal care.

Corn Snakes

Both vets praised corn snakes as being easy to handle and a good option for a family prepared to care for a pet snake. “Corn snakes can be very gentle,” says Dr. Hess.

The corn snake can grow to be 2.5-5 feet, so you will need to adjust their terrarium size as they grow. They are great starter reptiles for older children because they do not mind being handled. They do require rodents as food, but they should be freshly deceased or frozen, because live mice can injure your pet snake.

They’re also relatively low-maintenance pets when it comes to daily chores. However, because they have special care requirements, they are best suited for older children.

With all reptiles, you’ll want to check the humidity and temperature of the cage and keep the space clean—all activities your older child can assist with. Your child can also take an active role in the layout of the cage and the accessories it contains.

Corn snakes have a life span of 5-10 years, so they are also long-term commitments.

Greek Tortoises

Dr. Hess prefers Greek tortoises to other types of turtles, tortoises and terrapins because they’re small and eat vegetables.

Greek tortoises will grow to be about 5-8 inches, and they should be kept in a large naturalistic enclosure made of plywood (this helps them to learn their boundaries, whereas glass and plastic will have them constantly trying to escape).

When it comes to the care of your tortoise, you will want to work with your veterinarian to meet their individual needs and discuss their nutritional requirements.

Your kids can help out with checking the temperature, humidity, light and heat inside the enclosure. Kids can also cut vegetables, administer vitamins and replenish water dishes.

“Some of the reptiles are great for kids on the spectrum because they’re slow-moving and they’re quiet and they’re not overstimulating. And, there are plenty of detail-oriented children who can participate in care by keeping track of daily feedings,” says Dr. Hess.

Greek tortoises do not particularly care for being held, so they are a great pet for kids that like to watch and observe their pets go about their business. However, this does not mean they will not interact with you. They are known to be very responsive and interactive. They will approach their caretakers for food and will be friendly and interactive.

Greek tortoises have an extremely long life span—in many cases living for over 20 years—So they will be lifelong commitments.

By: Teresa Traverse

Featured Image: iStock. com/akrp

Top 10 animals that will become your child's best friend

Blog Children in the City > Review Articles > Top 10 Animals That Will Be Your Child's Best Friend

A child asks for a pet, but you do not know which animal to choose? Don't worry, we've rounded up the top 10 animals your little one will make friends with. nine0010

Photo: Pixabay

Can't decide which pet to get: a cat or a dog? Hamster or parrot?

Pet care can teach a child to be responsible and take care of his pet. Bonding with a pet can provide an invaluable experience not only for the child, but for every member of the family.

But sometimes children don't even want to pick up clothes from the floor or fold toys, so you question their ability to care for, feed and clean up the animals. nine0010

Do you think they are not ready for such responsibility?

If you want your pet to be your best friend, wait until your child is old enough to take care of their pet on their own. Usually, only after 5-6 years, children can consciously systematically follow the rules and follow a clear algorithm of actions. Toddlers often do not distinguish an animal from a toy and can provoke it with inept handling and too active games. nine0028

But how do you choose the right pet?

We have collected for you the top 10 animals that your baby will make friends with.

1. Dog

A dog is a full member of the family. Photo: Pixabay

A dog is not just a pet, it is a full-fledged member of the family, so it requires attention and care on a par with a child, not to mention care.

Promises "I will walk with him every day", as a rule, are quickly forgotten even by the most responsible children. Be prepared for the fact that caring for a puppy will very quickly become your responsibility. nine0004

To make sure your child is really ready to take care of a pet on their own, arrange a check. If you have friends or relatives who can "borrow" a dog, take it to you for at least a week and shift all the caregiving responsibilities to the child. If this is not possible, just arrange with the child to pretend that you have a dog - let the child go for a walk early in the morning and in the evening as if with a puppy. After a week of such "walking" it will become known whether the child is really ready to take care of the dog. nine1. Cat Photo: Pixabay

What could be nicer than a warm, fluffy creature that soothingly purrs and caresses gently. A kitten is the perfect pet for introverted children. Children with this personality type love to be alone, they are restrained, calm and thoughtful, so communication with a kitten will allow them to reveal themselves, give tenderness and love to a fluffy pet. Boys love cats, but girls are more likely to choose them as pets. Moreover, it is important for a girl to be in contact with a cat, because it is necessary for the girl's body to develop antibodies to a disease such as toxoplasmosis. nine0004

3. Fish

Fish are ideal for those new to pet care. Photo: Pixabay

Goldfish are a classic choice, but are known to be very fragile and difficult to care for.

In contrast, the cockerel, or fighting fish, feels great even in a small aquarium. This type of fish breathes atmospheric air, so water aeration is not required. Cockerel is a beautiful fish, most often expensive, with long bright fins. nine0004

Fish watching has a calming effect on hyperactive and cranky babies. Bird training Photo: Pixabay

They bang on the cage like rock stars in a hotel room, but musically inclined kids will love these tunes.

Birds can be colorful, active and can be very social, but they take time and patience to train and are not suitable for all children. nine0004

All birds require regular cage cleaning and fresh food and water, as well as a spacious cage and some flying space. Small birds do not like sudden movements or loud noises, so they are better cared for by older, calmer children.

5. Hamster or gerbil

"Pocket pets" are suitable for owners of small apartments. Photo: Pixabay

Small, plump, harmless and intelligent, these animals need some care, but no more than a child can handle on their own.

The perfect choice for families that want a pet but aren't ready for a cat or dog. "Pocket pets" are suitable for owners of small apartments, because they do not require much space. But keep in mind - rodents are mostly nocturnal animals, so be prepared for noise in the middle of the night.

Even if you clean the cage regularly, you can still smell the odor from the rodent. And if you neglect to clean the cage, the smell can be just awful. nine0004

6. Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs rarely bite children

Guinea pigs are mainly manual, unpretentious and rarely bit children. They tend to be active throughout the day and night, so children can play with them more often.

Guinea pigs should be kept in pairs and provided with sufficient space. They need to be fed fresh, healthy food to meet their vitamin needs. nine0004

7. Ant farm

Ant farm is perfect for boys aged 5 to 8 who love insects very much.

Photo: Pixabay

They are like tanks, excavators and dinosaurs wrapped in a compact training package.

The Ant Farm is ideal for boys aged 5 to 8 who love insects. But ants are equally useful for any child interested in science. nine0004

Watching an ant farm can be a great way to learn about the nature and work ethic of these incredible insects. Encourage your child to save daily track drawings - this can lead to interesting discoveries.

Farm maintenance includes removal of old food and debris, regular feeding (usually other insects and honey mixture) and access to fresh water.

8. Lizard

Leopard geckos are good for beginners because they are easy to handle, odorless and non-allergenic. Photo: Pixabay

Lizards can be very interesting pets, but not every species is suitable for a new owner. Iguanas and monitor lizards are cute and funny at first, but then they grow into one and a half meter predators. If you are not ready to keep a "dinosaur" at home - pay attention to their safe relatives, for example, the leopard gecko. nine0004

These reptiles are well suited for beginners as they are undemanding, odorless and non-allergic. Geckos are very neat animals: they choose one place in the terrarium and go to the toilet only there. Leopard geckos are sociable animals, they quickly get used to the child and then ask to be held in their arms.

9. Turtle

Photo: Pixabay

There are aquatic and terrestrial turtles. To begin with, it is worth deciding on the species, but consider the fact that many land turtles are listed in the Red Book, so it is illegal to sell and buy them without documents.

Most freshwater turtles are captive bred and can be easily and legally purchased at a reasonable price. In addition, there are much more aquatic species than land species, so you can choose an unusual pet for yourself.

Land tortoises mainly feed on plant foods. They need a lot of moisture in their food, vitamins and minerals. But aquatic turtles are carnivores. All kinds of frogs, tadpoles, snails and insects are used as food for such reptiles. nine0004

10. Snake

The most popular species is the corn snake. Photo: Pixabay

Don't be afraid. Serpents are often underestimated. Stay away from large and of course poisonous species and you will see that snakes can actually be interesting pets for children.

The most popular species is the corn snake. She is very easy to tame, she is friendly and very beautiful. nine0004

The snake will need a terrarium (make sure it's tightly sealed to prevent escape), fresh water, and a heat source. And, of course, she will have to be fed, which upsets some. Snakes are carnivores, they eat rodents about once a week. If this aspect of friendship with a snake is not a problem, then feel free to get this reptile for your child.

Do you agree that these are the best pets for kids, or do you have other ideas you can share? nine0025

Pets for children - what kind of pet should a child have?

Sooner or later every child asks his parents to have a pet. He really wants to have at home a living being capable of interaction, and not just a toy. The motives are clear and good. But parents are immediately presented with the problems and difficulties that the pet will bring with it. After all, you will have to purchase everything you need for him, feed, clean, walk, treat in case of illness.

Should I go for it? What animals are suitable for children? How do you teach kids to be responsible with pets? nine0004

Whether a child needs a pet: pros and cons

To make such a responsible decision as purchasing a pet, you need to weigh all the pros and cons well. We list the factors that may influence your choice.

Positive aspects:

  1. Education of responsibility, compassion, empathy, communication skills . The animal needs daily care. Children can and should be involved in this from a very young age. The child learns to understand that this is a living being that needs food and water, cleaning the cage, walking. nine0292
  2. The child will learn to control his negative emotions and not harm living beings . When playing with animals, children can hurt them. The cat or dog immediately responds to this - they leave, scratch, bite the offender, and the game ends. Such behavior of the animal and the explanations of adults contribute to the development of the ability to empathize, sympathize, and restrain. It will be much easier for children to understand the feelings of other people, to build relationships with them. Interacting with an animal, children learn to better understand another, to be attentive and sensitive to him. nine0292
  3. Animals reduce anxiety and stress . Studies show that the level of anxiety and anxiety in children with pets is lower. This is due to a decrease in the production of the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in the production of the "love hormone" oxytocin. An animal can be hugged, complained, it will “listen” and will not criticize. This is very necessary for children. Communication with animals is often used in the treatment of children with developmental disorders, such as autism. In general, the presence of animals in the house reduces tension and stress for all family members, brings a lot of positive emotions, which improves the quality of life. nine0292
  4. Increasing physical activity . Children, playing with animals, move a lot, which is always beneficial. This is especially true for dogs. They need to be walked daily, they love to run, jump, play. Thus, daily physical activity will enter into your life. According to statistics, dog owners take 25% more steps per day than non-dog owners.
  5. Discovering new opportunities . Pet owner communities are interest clubs that include people of all ages. Exhibitions and competitions are held. Teenage children can already take part in them with their pets. This is a great chance to make new friends who share the same interests. nine0292

Possible problems and difficulties:

  1. Additional dirt in the house, the need for frequent cleaning . Maintaining perfect cleanliness in a house where animals live is impossible. Yes, you will have to clean up much more often, but sterility will not be achieved.
  2. Infections . Pets can infect humans with the most dangerous disease - rabies. To avoid this, animals must be regularly vaccinated. Cat scratches can cause fever, which is caused by a certain bacterium. The disease is not dangerous, but unpleasant. nine0292
  3. Helminthiasis . Helminth eggs are easily transmitted from pets to humans. And even if a cat or dog does not walk on the street, the risk of helminths in them is high. Animals can become infected by eating raw meat, fish, eggs. Often the eggs of worms are brought into the house by a person on dirty shoes. Be sure to deworm animals twice a year.
  4. Ringworm . It is a fungal infection transmitted from pets to humans. Children, whose immunity is still weak, are especially susceptible. Deprive an unpleasant disease, but well treatable. nine0292
  5. Birds can infect humans with psittacosis — a type of chlamydia.
  6. Allergy . Common problem. Moreover, an allergic reaction may appear for the first time when purchasing an animal, even if this has never been observed before. And it is not always possible to remove allergic manifestations by medication. Then it remains only to find a new home for the animal. And it will be stressful for everyone - for the animal, children and adults.

Don't be too afraid of animal-borne diseases. You just need to be responsible for your pet. By following the rules of hygiene and timely preventive treatments, you can avoid many problems. nine0004

We also do not recommend purchasing an animal for a child if at least one family member is categorically against it. We need to come to a reasonable compromise. Perhaps the solution would be to choose another animal.

What to look for when choosing a pet

Be sure to take into account all the factors:

  1. Housing size . In a small apartment, for example, it will not be possible to get a large dog. Cats also need free space, especially if they do not walk outside. nine0292
  2. All the pros and cons of the selected animal . Are you ready to put up with the noise and flying feathers of birds, the fur of cats and dogs? Is frequent cleaning intimidating, or is it better to choose someone less whimsical? Do you like contact and intelligent animals, or is the contemplation of silent fish more attractive?
  3. Allergy of a family member . Often there is an allergy to animal hair. Then you have to choose, for example, fish, turtle.
  4. Financial opportunities . Animal food, cages, aquariums, terrariums, accessories and toys, veterinary services if necessary - all this costs money. Some animals are definitely cheaper than others.

Remember that the choice is always up to the adult. Even if the child begs to take the animal and promises to take care of it, you need to understand that he is simply not able to realize all the responsibility and possible problems yet.

Best pets for kids


Experts do not recommend getting a dog for a child under 2 years old. Toddlers can cause harm to a puppy through negligence. But for a child of 4-5 years old, it is already easy to explain the rules of behavior with animals. From the age of 7, children may well take on some of the responsibilities for caring for a pet.

There are many breeds of dogs. Small, medium and large breeds have their own advantages and disadvantages in terms of interacting with children. If it is planned that the child will walk the pet on his own, then the weight of the animal should not exceed his own. With large animals, such walks will be impossible. Although many dogs of large breeds patronize children. nine0004

But small animals often claim the place of a beloved baby in a family. And this is fraught with competition with children and jealousy. Therefore, the best choice is medium-sized dogs. But be sure to take into account the characteristics of a particular breed.

The best breeds for children include : cheerful and sociable Labradors, smart and good-natured collies, contact and smart poodles, balanced Cocker Spaniels, hardy Airedales, sociable Beagles, affectionate Pugs. nine0004

Families with children are not recommended to have dogs of the following breeds : Doberman, Husky, Alabai, Chihuahua, Pekingese, Corgi, Akita Inu, Dalmatians. These animals may be too aggressive or compete with children.


  • dogs are smart and sociable, they can become real friends for children;
  • walking with dogs in the open air will become a part of daily life;
  • dogs live long, more than 10 years.


  • dogs are difficult to care for, they need special food, walks - this falls on the shoulders of parents;
  • raising a dog needs to be dealt with, otherwise you risk getting not a family member, but a naughty and aggressive dog that will cause a lot of problems.


These wayward and freedom-loving animals are not at all like dogs. Cats do not show much love for children and rather tolerate them. But, if you decide to have a kitten for your child, do not give up this idea. Cats are also amenable to education, you can influence their habits. And teach your child to be careful when dealing with a pet. nine0004

The nature of cats, like dogs, is determined by their breed. For a child, playful and curious Abyssinians, kind and affectionate ragdolls, sociable Canadian sphinxes, affectionate and active oriental cats are suitable. Maine Coons also tend to be kind to children. Independent Britons, unbalanced, albeit interesting, Siamese cats are not suitable for kids.

Pros :

  • cats require much less attention than dogs, they do not need to be walked daily; nine0292
  • keeping a cat is cheaper than keeping a dog.


  • cats are not as sociable as dogs, not everyone likes their independent character;
  • it is impossible to train a cat, and you may have to put up with some of their features
  • behaviors;
  • even the kindest cat can scratch a child, you need to be careful with them.

You can give your child a kitten after 4-5 years, when the baby can already follow the rules of behavior with the animal. It is a completely different matter when a baby appears in a family where an adult cat lives. In this case, on the contrary, it is necessary to introduce the animal to a new family member. And try to make sure that the cat or cat is not jealous, that is, continue to pay attention to him or her. nine0004


A modern aquarium with fishes is an interior decoration. Children love to watch aquatic life. It disciplines, develops mindfulness, instills interest in wildlife. But preschoolers and younger students cannot cope with the care of the aquarium on their own. This requires special knowledge and skills. But with the support of adults, an aquarium can be purchased for a child of any age.


  • contemplation of the aquarium relaxes and pacifies, which is especially useful for hyperactive and anxious children; nine0292
  • daily maintenance of the aquarium does not take much time;
  • Aquarium is a living biology guide that clearly demonstrates the life of aquatic life.


  • expensive equipment, especially if the aquarium is large;
  • operating aeration and filtration systems create constant noise;
  • Aquarium care requires the participation of an adult.


A parrot or a canary is not a puppy or kitten that can be stroked, squeezed and played with. Birds require careful attitude and understanding of their nature. This needs to be explained to the parents. If you haven't had birds before, a budgerigar is the best choice to start with. These are cheerful and unpretentious birds. The budgerigar is easy to tame and teach to talk. This delights the children. Canaries sing beautifully and melodiously. nine0004

You can get a bird for a child from 5 years old. From this age, children can already take responsibility for themselves, and caring for a parrot is not difficult. For a bird, you need to purchase a spacious cage equipped with perches, ladders, a mirror, and toys. A nesting house is needed only if there are two birds - a male and a female. Food for birds - grain mixtures, sometimes fresh vegetables, fruits.


  • low maintenance;
  • is easy to tame. nine0292


  • noise - birds are noisy creatures, chirping and whistling can be annoying;
  • feathers and debris - always in the cage and around, you will have to clean it daily.


Hamsters are funny and cute animals. There are two common varieties: Dzungarian and Syrian. Dzungaria are small, up to 5 cm tall and weighing up to 45 g. They have a characteristic coloration with a dark stripe on the back. And the length of Syrian hamsters reaches 18 cm, weight - up to 150 g. Their wool can be long or short, the colors are varied. nine0004

All hamsters are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and are active at night. Djungarian hamsters are more active. Therefore, a cage for them is taken at least 50x30x30 cm in size, with frequent rods. For Syrian hamsters, a smaller house is also suitable. The cage for any hamster should be spacious, but low. These animals move on the ground, and do not conquer the heights.

The cage must have a running wheel. Solid plastic is better than wire mesh, so that hamsters do not get tangled in their paws. Hamsters are territorial animals, so it's best to keep them alone. Food for hamsters - grain mixtures, fresh vegetables, cereals, boiled eggs. nine0004


  • unpretentious, easy maintenance;
  • are funny and interesting to watch.


  • it is better not to start a pair of male and female for a child, hamsters breed very quickly and the female can eat cubs;
  • are noisy at night;
  • live only 2-3 years.

Rats are very smart, they are easily tamed and even recognize their owner. Their lack of smell, because of which the cage will have to be washed very often. But Guinea pigs are favorites of children. They are quite large and inactive, can sit on their hands and do not tend to run away. They are so nice to stroke on the fur.

Hamsters and rats are not suitable for very young children who cannot yet handle them carefully. It is better to start them for a child older than 4-5 years. But younger children can also communicate with a guinea pig.


Land and water turtles can be kept at home. It is easier to take care of land animals and they have a more docile nature. For aquatic turtles, you will have to equip an aquaterrarium in which the turtle can both swim and be on land. Turtles feed on special food, as well as greens, vegetables and fruits. nine0004


  • turtles are unusual, interesting to watch, they are not capable of harming a child;
  • turtles live for a long time - up to 50 years!


  • special organization of housing for turtles - in a terrarium or aquaterrarium a constant level of temperature, humidity, illumination is maintained;
  • turtles need hibernation, the conditions for which are very difficult to create at home.

You can get a turtle for a child of any age. But you need to understand that a preschooler will not be able to fully care for this animal. The help and supervision of an adult is required.


These cute furry animals are very affectionate and almost never bite. They are nocturnal, so they are not active during the day. To keep chinchillas, a spacious cage or showcase with a width of at least 100 cm is required. Several tiers with shelves, ladders, a house, a hammock, a feeder, and a drinker should be arranged in it. The bottom is covered with sawdust bedding. Chinchillas are herbivores, their diet consists of plant-based feed. nine0004


  • chinchillas are tame, they are pleasant to stroke, they do not bite if you do not hurt them and do not frighten them;
  • chinchillas live for a long time - 15-20 years.


  • a cage for chinchillas needs a very large one, its cost is high;
  • cage takes up a lot of space in the house.

Young children cannot take care of a chinchilla on their own. This will require the help of adults. nine0004


There are many breeds of decorative rabbits - fluffy and smooth-haired, with straight and hanging ears, of various colors. There are no particular difficulties in their maintenance and feeding, so you can buy a cute and fluffy rabbit for a child from the age of 4. But choose a young animal that is easy to tame. Then the rabbit will become a sociable and sweet pet. Rabbits require a spacious cage, on the bottom of which wood filler is poured. But you can let these animals go for a walk in the apartment and even teach them to go to the tray, because they are clean. Rabbits feed mainly on plant foods. nine0004


  • low maintenance;
  • animals are tame and non-aggressive;
  • rabbits live 8-9 years.


  • for walking a rabbit in an apartment, you will have to re-equip all the places that are dangerous for him;
  • a slight but unpleasant odor that will have to be dealt with by frequent cleaning;
  • with a lack of communication and attention, the rabbit will grow up wild and untamed.


Families with small children should not get a ferret. These animals have sharp teeth and claws, they can strongly bite and scratch the baby, who perceives pets as a toy. And if a cat or dog can tolerate even the unpleasant actions of a child, then a ferret often reacts aggressively. But for children over 6-7 years old, the ferret is a completely safe pet. Ferrets are very interesting, curious and smart, you can walk with them on a leash along the street. You can keep a ferret at home without a cage, but you need to equip a toilet case tray. nine0004


  • ferrets are playful and sociable, have high intelligence, can be trained;
  • beautiful appearance, soft and fluffy fur;
  • are easily tamed, responsive to affection.


  • ferret hair has a specific musky smell;
  • ferrets are especially active in the evening and at night;
  • these animals are very mobile and will not suit those who dreamed of a calm animal and are not ready to endure some inconvenience. nine0292


Definitely, a hedgehog is not the best pet for a child. The body of this animal is covered with sharp needles, so holding it on the handles is problematic. And just watching the animal is not interesting for many children. Hedgehogs need a spacious cage with a running wheel, feeders and a drinker, a house. Hedgehogs are active at night. They are not social and for the house it is enough to purchase one animal, he will feel comfortable.


  • unusual and even exotic pet;
  • hedgehogs are quite unpretentious in maintenance and care.


  • sharp needles;
  • nocturnal lifestyle.

How to teach a child to take care of a pet?

Even before purchasing the chosen animal, it is necessary to acquaint the child with its features. Together, study what the animal eats, what lifestyle it leads, what it likes and dislikes, what kind of housing is required.

Learn more