Though many people keep pets in their homes for a multitude of reasons, not all of them have the will or time to properly care for them. Neglect is unfortunately quite a common issue when it comes to pets. Leading to poor health and even, in some cases, death. And if your kid wants a pet, it can be a difficult choice to make. Especially if you know and acknowledge that your child might not be able to give the pet the attention it deserves and needs.
Fortunately, some animals do not require as much attention and care as some others. While most popular pets, like dogs for instance, require round the clock love. Others can get by just fine with a daily change of the food tray. So what animals can you get your kid that you can be sure won’t meet an unfortunate fate?
A Note Before You Get A Pet
Even though the animals we are going to list below require minimal intervention on your or your kid’s part, it is still expected to routinely check up on them. If you’re getting a pet for your child, be sure to pop in and look over them every couple of days to make sure they’re at least getting the minimal amount of care they need; like food, water, and cleanliness. Often, kids get too caught up with just playing with or observing their pet that they forget to feed them. And in some cases, the child might even just get bored and completely neglect their pet. So, it falls on you to make sure the animal is being taken care of, no matter how little of it the animal might actually require.
Goldfish are some of the easiest pets to take care of. Though they might not provide as much stimulation as hamsters or rabbits, they are still a nice addition to a room. The hardest part of taking care of a goldfish is the regular change of water in their fish bowl. This can be taught to your kid, or done by you once every week. Other than that, all you have to do is feed them at the right times and you’re done. Keep in mind however, that goldfish – when properly taken care of – can grow up to ten inches and live for a decade. So, in time, you will have to get a decent sized aquarium for it.
A Guinea Pig (Or Two)
Guinea pigs are also very easy to take care of, and just as popular a pet as goldfish. Small, cuddly, and very excitable, guinea pigs make for fun pets for small children. All they require is food and water daily in their cage and they’re set. Though filling their cage with straw is also very common, as guinea pigs like to constantly graze. All you have to teach your child is how to properly handle the little guys, as they’re quite delicate. Lastly, guinea pigs are prone to loneliness, so it is recommended that they be kept in pairs. And remember to neuter the male if you’re keeping one male and one female, as guinea pig populations tend to explode in numbers very fast.
A similar pet to guinea pigs, hamsters are another choice for your kid. Easy to take care of and friendly, hamsters are rewarding pets that your kid will absolutely love. Like guinea pigs, hamsters only require a cage and food and water daily. Though it is highly recommended to provide them with a form of exercise, most commonly provided as a wheel for their cage they can run inside of. Also, hamsters are nocturnal. This means your kid can happily attend school and play outside during the day without feeling like missing out on anything. And as with guinea pigs, make sure to teach your kid how to properly handle the little animal, as they are also quite delicate.
A Small Bird
Unlike bigger birds, like parrots and toucans, smaller birds can get along just fine without any human intervention apart from feeding them. Provide them with a large enough cage and change out their food and water daily and the birds would be perfectly content with their lives. As with guinea pigs, smaller birds don’t fare well alone, and are much happier with company. If you want birds that you don’t want to interact with, canaries and finches are perfect (and beautiful) choices. However, if you want to potentially befriend the birds down the line and have them interact with you properly, parakeets are a solid choice. Word of forewarning; birds can get pretty loud. So be sure you’re not bothered by the noise or have someplace to keep them where you won’t hear them screeching.
A tortoise (or two if you feel like it) can make for a good pet for children too. They don’t require much care apart from a varied diet that you will have to research about before picking a breed. Tortoises are quiet unlike the birds mentioned above, and basically relax all day long and don’t mind being picked up and petted. Before you decide on a tortoise though, make sure to learn how much space (and what kind of habitat) you will need to provide them with. Also, keep in mind that, apart from select breeds, tortoises need to hibernate as well.
If you’re looking for the perhaps the most low-maintenance pet out there, it doesn’t get easier than sea monkeys. These animals are perfect as pets for children that only want something to watch and barely interact with. Sea monkeys barely need to be fed (once a week) and don’t even need their tank cleaned that much. In fact, if the water is a bit cloudy and some algae is growing in the tank, it’s actually a good thing for them. The tank will only need cleaning when it smells really foul and the water starts getting dark. Other than that, these animals are perfectly well left alone and couldn’t be easier to take care of.
A Leopard Gecko
Lizards are definitely more of an exotic pet than others mentioned on this list. Nevertheless, they make for pretty cool pets if they don’t creep you out. Though there are many types of lizards available for purchase, like iguanas, the leopard gecko is the most low-maintenance one out there. For starters, unlike its other lizard brethren, leopard geckos do not require a UV lighting setup. Leopard geckos can get by just fine in a cage if its habitat is set up properly. Depending on what kind of lizard you buy, you have to take care of some specific needs. Leopard geckos for example, need plenty of hiding places in their habitats. They’re also pretty calm in nature and don’t mind being picked up. Their diet however, consists of live insects. So they’re a no go if your child is afraid of handling insects in addition to the lizard.
Rabbits also make for very good pets, but they are definitely much higher maintenance than the other listings on this list. First off, it is very highly recommended that rabbits be bought in pairs. A lonely rabbit will require a lot of attention. Other than that, rabbits need their own decent sized place where they can hop about if you’re not keeping them inside your house. Once these basic steps are taken care of, you will have to remember to adequately feed them every day. If you get all these steps down, you’re ready for a fluffy bundle of joy of your own.
Lastly, we have cats. Now cats do require more care than sea monkeys but they’re definitely much easier to take care of than dogs. While dogs require constant praise, affection, play time, and walks, cats are very content being left to their own devices. All you have to do is keep their food and water bowls stocked and their litter box clean and you’re good to go. Your cat will just roam around the house, laze on the couch, and sometimes come up to you for cuddles if you’re really lucky. Suffice to say, cats are just like another member of your family; you two acknowledge each other’s existence but don’t need to interact as much if you don’t want to. Don’t get the wrong impression however; cats can become really loving friends if you try. Also, be sure to research about the breed you buy so you know how often and how you need to groom them.
A pet can mean a large commitment, or barely make a dent in your daily lifestyle. It all depends on what you get yourself. Again, all you need to do is regularly make sure your kid is taking good care of their pet and you’ll have a happy child and a happy animal.