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Fish are an excellent pet addition if you have toddlers in your household. The child can spend time observing the pet with a barrier between the and the pet, preparing them for interaction with animals they can touch. Goldfish are fairly easy to raise and care for; the primary risk with many fish is over-feeding, so your child can learn a pet-care schedule.
Tortoises and other reptiles make good pets for kids because parents can demonstrate proper care and handling for a long time; some of these animals may live up to 50 years. They are non-allergenic but may transmit bacterial infections, so learning safe care is critical for both child and pet.
Older children who have demonstrated responsibility and interest can really enjoy birds. Be aware that birds can be messy, so daily cleanup will be part of the care routine. Many birds tolerate handling and can serve as a wonderful companion to a child who's a bit quieter or introverted.
Guinea pigs are good pets for kids who like to cuddle and are very hands-on. These pets are not nocturnal and love to be held. Guinea pigs can whistle and will often greet their child, increasing the bond and building a joyful pet habit. Your child may be ready to handle a guinea pig at about the time they start first grade, giving them a friend to talk to as they decompress from their day.
Dogs have long been the pet of choice for young kids. However, it's important to note that puppies and toddlers can be a very bad mix; toddlers can be unintentionally rough or painfully loud and puppies may learn to fear the child or even become aggressive towards the child. Additionally, the process of housebreaking a dog takes focus and dedication, and if you're caring for a toddler as well, something may have to give. Failing at housebreaking is a mistake that will haunt you as long as you keep the dog. Getting a dog with the right temperament is critical; Dalmatians are beautiful but take a lot of exercise and Border Collies are clever but need company. Study up on breeds!
A new kitten is a joy to play with, but cats are a multi-year commitment that may or may not include litter box maintenance. If your child has a solid history of cleaning up after small, rodent pets and they really want a kitten, they're probably ready to embrace the effort it takes to care for one. Introducing yourself and your child to a new cat properly is key, so be ready to spend some time making this choice. Be aware that cats are highly sensitive to vibrations and noise; if your household is particularly rambunctious or if you have toddlers in addition to the older child receiving the kitten or cat, be sure to create a "nest" for the kitten where they can escape.
Your science-minded kid will love a pet hedgehog! Be aware that these are not the cuddliest of pets and take a lot of time to bond. They're quite shy and will need plenty of attention. However, with the right care and plenty of time, your child can develop a close bond with their hedgehog. Be prepared for specialty food, including live insects. Caring for a hedgehog takes dedication and an eye to detail, but if your child has demonstrated the ability to care for hamsters, guinea pigs or rats, they can build the skillset for a hedgehog.
If your child has enjoyed contact with their guinea pig, a rat is a pet they can handle as they age. While rats are nocturnal, they will adapt. Learning to feed and handle rats takes some study, so you might plan for a research project prior to getting your first rat. They tolerate handling well and are not inclined to bite. When planning for a rat, plan for two; they need company when your child is away.
If you've got room for a big dog, you've got space for a potbellied pig. These creatures are quite affectionate, unlikely to bite and cuddly. A potbellied pig is a great pet for the whole household. These animals are quite social and connect easily with other pets and people. Another positive feature of potbellied pigs is that they are very easy to housebreak!
This beautiful creature is one of the best pets for kids when children are a bit older. You need to start with a young chinchilla and handle it daily to acclimate it to humans. Chinchillas are a little delicate; they don't care for cold and will need food such as pellets and green hay. They'll also need toys that can be chewed. Best of all, chinchillas are odorless!
Building a great history of animal care through parental modelling and patience is the best way to be sure you pick good pets for kids.