Looking for a furry friend for your kids? Or maybe a slimy one? Before you bring pets for kids into your family find out which animals makes the best… and worst pets for little ones. (You might be surprised at which animals fail the test!)
Fancy Rat – Best
Fancy Rats make great pets for kids… that is if parents can get past their “eek” factor. While they require a large caging area, if kept in a busy room of the home the rat will bond with the family and become a member of your clan in no time. Fancy Rats also enjoy being held and are actually highly intelligent.
Fun Fact: In Victorian times rich women would often take attic rats as pets and domesticate them. They would even dress them up!
Fish – Best and Worst
Goldfish can live up to 25 years… but usually they don’t. A fish is a great starter pet for kids because they are easy to manage and require little cost to keep. However, goldfish are notorious for going “belly up”… so if you have a sensitive child they could be a crying session waiting to happen.
Turtle – Worst
Turtles are among the most desired pets to children. They are adorable and easy to handle. However, they pose a hidden danger that many parents aren’t aware of. Turtles actually carry semolina. Cleaning the cage of a turtle or handling one without proper sanitation can lead to a doctor visit.
Dog – Best
Dogs are perhaps the favorite pet of families around the world. Not only do they have a generally long lifespan they also make fast friends with their owners.
While dogs are wonderful pets some are better for kids than others. Small dogs are often not a good choice for children as they require delicate handling. Their tiny bodies are also easily tripped on as children run and play. This can be dangerous not only for the dog but also for the children.
Golden Retrievers make excellent family dogs and English Bulldogs are another great addition. They are very loyal and good with children – however, they are very protective if strangers enter the picture.
Ponies – Worst
While ponies are great fun they are very difficult to manage. They require lots of space to run, a daily routine and they have a high cost of feed and maintenance.
Goats – Best and Worst
Goats are very intelligent. In fact, many goat owners argue that they are even more loyal than dogs. You can teach them tricks… and as a bonus they mow your grass and provide you with milk. However, the thing about a goat that requires a second thought is the fact that they are little escape artists and they do require a daily routine.
Lizards – Worst
Lizards are very difficult for kids to handle. Not because they cannot be handled but because they are VERY fast. Lizards also require the feeding of bugs and the use of heat lamps so the upkeep can be rather intensive. Heat lamps are also a cause of concern for some parents who fear they will get too hot and set fire.
Guinea Pigs – Best
While they smell to Timbuktu Guinea Pigs are actually a great pet for kids. They enjoy being held, have a 2 to 5 year lifespan and aren’t known to bite as often as hamsters. Guinea Pigs are also easier to handle as they don’t require as delicate a touch as mice and hamsters.
Ferrets – Worst
Ferrets are cute… but they give off a musky scent and even worse they can give you a very bad bite. This is especially worrisome to parents of small children. Bites can easily become infected by little hands. So while ferrets are adorable and we loved them in Rikki Tikki Tavi… until kids are older we’d steer clear.
When it comes to pets only you and your family can decide what pet is right for you. While a dog might be a great choice for one family, a snake might suit another just fine.
Sit down with your family and decide what kind of responsibility you can comfortably take on, plan for bumps in the road and whatever you choose… choose to love it for life. When you do it will pay you back by loving you for a lifetime.
David Beart is the owner of the Professors House [http://www.professorshouse.com]. Our site covers pet related topics from low carb dog food [http://www.professorshouse.com/pets/dogs/low-carb-dog-food.aspx] and pet trivia to raising cats and caring for birds.