Skip to content
Kid feeding small pet rabbit

7 Best Small Pets for Kids

You might have a lot of memories involving caring for a family pet as a young child, and now that you're an adult, you want to learn more about what pets are best for children. One of the advantages of having small pets for kids is that it teaches them about the importance of being responsible and dependable.

There are certain benefits to owning a pet. According to researchers, kids who grew up with pets have higher self-esteem and advantages in socialization and cognition.

From domesticated pets to exotic pets, we'll share with you the top seven small pets to keep for kiddos.

Choosing the Best Small Pet for Kids

When it comes to selecting the perfect pet for kids, there are a lot of factors to consider. While getting a giant dog may seem like a good idea at first, there are other questions that should be answered first. Does it fit into your family dynamics and lifestyle? Is it low maintenance, non-allergenic, and does it often require minimal vet visits?

If these are the questions you're asking yourself, then a small pet may be just the thing you're looking for! From guinea pigs to hamsters, small animals make great companions that provide company without taking up too much space in your home. They're small, and they're cute, and they also tend to be cuddly and gentle with their owners.

Best of all, their lower cost of care makes them highly affordable compared to larger pets like cats and dogs. Small pets can be easily cared for with a low effort but a high-reward approach that won't break the bank. So if you're looking for a furry friend that fits your budget and living arrangements, look at this list of the seven best small pets for kids!

1. Hamster

Owner feeding small pet hamster

When choosing a pet for your child, hamsters may be the perfect fit. These low-maintenance animals are cuddly, cute, and a great way to teach kids responsibility. Plus, they’re easy to clean up and can be kept in most homes without hassle.

Hamsters come in two main types: Syrian and Dwarf. Syrian hamsters need to live alone, as they’ll fight with other hamsters if placed together. On the other hand, Dwarf varieties can be kept in pairs or small groups— perfect for bigger families.

These little critters also require minimal care. All they need is a large cage with lots of toys and accessories to keep them entertained during the day, such as wheels and tunnels. You’ll also need some food bowls for their meals, nutritious food, and clean water daily. Regarding exercise, they love exploring their surroundings and playing with chew toys or objects they find while out of the cage.

Hamsters make great pets for children because of their size and low-maintenance needs. Just make sure you research beforehand to know exactly what to expect!

2. Rabbit

If you’re looking for an affectionate pet, you should consider getting a rabbit. Young kids love them for their fluffiness and cuteness. They make perfect cuddle buddies and are considered among the most social pets.

They may be small, but they do need plenty of space to explore and exercise. Rabbits tend to be more active in the mornings and evenings, making them ideal companions for some outdoor fun if the weather allows it.

When caring for a rabbit, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • They need lots of hay and fresh vegetables daily.

  • Depending on the breed, they can live up to 10 years or more - that's a huge commitment!

  • They require consistent care and attention, such as regular brushing and vet visits once or twice a year.

  • It is essential that they are spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

If you're feeling the love for these fur babies, check out these cute bunny shirts from our site. 25% of all proceeds are donated to no-kill animal shelters!

3. Guinea Pig

If your little one is looking for a furry companion, then you might want to consider getting them a guinea pig. Also known as cavies, these critters come in several breeds. All types have super soft fur that kids can sink right into when feeling snuggly.

Guinea pigs are a popular pet for kids because they aren’t usually aggressive, making them great for handling and cuddling. Not to mention, they are incredibly adorable! These animals love to explore their litter boxes and thrive in groups of two or more - making them the perfect choice for siblings who want to share the responsibility of caring for their pet.

Guinea pigs are an excellent option for kids who like to cuddle and are very hands-on. These pets are not nocturnal and love to be held. Guinea pigs are social animals. They can whistle and will often greet their child, increasing the bond and building a joyful pet habit.

These rodents make good starter pets as they are relatively low maintenance. They only need a cage and plenty of food, and once provided, your pet will be content and purring in no time!

Your child may be ready to handle a loving pet like a guinea pig at about the time they start first grade, giving them a friend to talk to as they decompress from their day.

They are proof that you don't always have to have a pet inside a tank if you want low-maintenance pets. They can live up to 5-7 years and often only require a cage, food, bedding, and water.

4. Rat Or Mouse

Small brown and white pet rat on a table

Do rats or mice make good pets? Believe it or not, both of these rodents make great pets for families looking for smaller animals. They don’t require too much space and can be a great way to teach your child the responsibility of caring for an animal.

Rat Facts

Rats make sociable, intelligent pets. They have excellent memories and are capable of learning tricks like fetching and running mazes. Rats typically have a 2-year lifespan, so it’s essential to consider the commitment before bringing one home.

Mouse Facts

Mice are cuddly, playful animals that make great first small pets. They can be entertaining to watch because they are naturally curious and love exploring their environment. With proper handling, they will become friendly to everyone. Mice typically live up to 1-2 years and don’t require a lot of space either: they can thrive in cages as small as two square feet!

No matter which rodent you decide on, proper care is crucial to their health: feed them regularly with fresh food, keep their cage clean with regular bedding changes, offer toys to keep them entertained, and give them plenty of attention—just like any other pet!

5. Gerbil

Gerbils are excellent pets for those who want something cute and furry and enjoy learning about animals. They are inquisitive miniature furballs with bold personalities and a lot of energy. These small rodents can provide hours of fun for your children, as they love exploring their surroundings and often hide in their burrows only to pop up when least expected.

Gerbils also require minimal care, making them one of the most low-maintenance pets out there. As long as you provide them with a proper habitat, food, and water, they should be able to thrive in your home. You'll also need to remember to give them plenty of toys to play with so they stay entertained.

When it comes to other living things around the house, such as other pets or humans, gerbils do not tend to be aggressive. Still, they may bite if startled or scared - so it's essential that any interactions between your child and the pet gerbil are gentle and supervised at all times.

Overall, gerbils make great pets for those who are looking for something small, playful, and easy to care for!

6. Ferret

As your kids get older, they may want to consider a small pet that needs a little more attention: a ferret. Though they’re quirky and active, ferrets are social and make great companions for anyone. Here’s what you need to know about them:


Ferrets are carnivores, so their diet should be high in fats and proteins with some carbohydrates. Commercial ferret food is a great option, or you can feed them hard-boiled eggs, cooked chicken, and meats like beef, pork, and lamb.


Ferrets may be small, but they need plenty of exercises! Buy your ferret an exercise wheel or a large cage so they’ll have plenty of room to explore and play. You can also get interactive toys that encourage them to be active.


They don’t require too much grooming because they bathe themselves with their rough tongue! But you will need to clean their ears every few weeks and trim their nails once a month.

Ferrets make great pets for older children who can handle the responsibility of feeding and caring for an active animal like the ferret. Just make sure to research the breed before bringing one home so you know what you're getting into!

7. Chinchilla

Group of chinchillas sleeping as small pets for kids

This beautiful creature is easy to pick for children who 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!

Chinchillas are especially popular for those who like animals but don't want to be overwhelmed by a larger pet. If you decide to get a chinchilla, you can be sure they'll get plenty of attention and love—these little critters are very active and sociable.

Here’s why a chinchilla would make an excellent pet for small children:

They Are Easy to Care For

Unlike many other small mammals, chinchillas are relatively easy to take care of. Their cages need to be kept clean, they need bedding material and food, and they should have a dust bath every week or so.

They Are Playful

Chinchillas are very active and love to play, a trait that is sure to fascinate children. they will jump up and down their cages, run up and down their wheel, hide items in their little hidey-hole, try to sneak out of their cages, and more.

They Need Exercise

To stay healthy, chinchillas need regular exercise—this could be anything from playing with toys or running on an exercise wheel. Exercise is important for chinchillas as it helps them stay in shape and prevents obesity.


Are birds good pets for kids?

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 excellent companions to a child who's a bit quieter or introverted.

Are fish good pets for kids?

Fish is an excellent pet addition if you have toddlers in your household. The child can spend time observing the pet with a barrier between them and the pet, preparing them for interaction with animals they can touch. The primary risk with many fish is over-feeding, so your child should learn a pet-care schedule.

Are snakes, iguanas, and other reptiles good pets for kids?

Tortoises and other reptiles make fantastic pets for kids because parents can demonstrate proper care and handle them 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.

Previous article Healthy Kong Stuffers Recipes: Best Kong Stuffing Ideas

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields