Kid Friendly Animals
Hamsters are great little animals for children who have never had a pet before. They require minimal care, don't take up a lot of space and are easy to handle. However, they do require some time and attention and their living space, which is usually a small cage, needs to be cleaned out regularly. They have an average lifespan of around two years so if you are looking for something with a bit of longevity, hamsters are probably not your best bet. They should be kept on their own as they tend to fight one another if left in groups. They are also nocturnal — something to keep in mind if the kids want to play with them.
Rabbits are an extremely popular choice for young children as they are pretty easy to maintain and many will sit and have a cuddle with their owners. They have a lifespan of roughly 10 years so are a fairly big commitment for a young family. Remember that if a pre-teen wants a rabbit, chances are they will be in their early twenties when the rabbit is reaching its twilight years. Rabbits are keen groomers and love to keep themselves clean so this responsibility is largely taken away from the owner. They do, however, need regular nail trims and some may need their teeth trimmed, which can be fairly costly over a ten year period. Just remember that rabbits do multiply like... well, like rabbits. So don't buy a pair unless you are willing to deal with lots of baby bunnies.
Many people consider fish the lowest maintenance pet of all and in some respects they are. However, cleaning out a fish tank, making sure the fish are cared for during the process and keeping the ammonia levels in the water in check can be quite time consuming. Children need to realise the work involved before you agree to getting one as, although the fish themselves are relatively easy to look after, the tank is a different matter. Fish can be mesmerising to look at and a great talking point among visitors but check with your kids first what they would like to get out of a pet and the amount of effort they are willing to put in. If they want a fluffy animal to cuddle every evening, fish won't be the number one choice. However, if they love visuals and are allergic to animal hair, fish could be perfect.
Cats are always a popular option when deciding which animal to have as a pet but there are a few factors to be considered. Cats have one of the longest lifespans of all domestic pets and can reach ages of twenty and beyond. If you are not prepared to look after the animal once your child has left home, a cat may not be suitable. Many children can also be allergic to cat hair so take your child to see a friend's cat before you buy to make sure this isn't a problem. Cats vary drastically in their temperaments from breed to breed and all have individual personalities. Some will be extremely affectionate and some more aloof. There will be nothing you can do to alter them to suit — just like humans! A great way to check out a few different cats before buying is to visit a rescue centre and play with the residents. By the time you leave you will have a good idea which ones may fit in with your family. You also need to take into consideration where you live as busy roads pose a significant danger to your furry friend, and you may want to consider a house cat to avoid potential heartache for your child.
Dogs remain the U.K.'s number one choice when it comes to pets and with so many breeds available it is not hard to see why. From tiny Chihuahuas to Great Danes to greyhounds, the choices are endless and it seems there is a breed for everyone whatever your requirements. However, dogs can be costly if they become ill and feeding one of the bigger breeds can mount up over a year. As long as you take out pet insurance and budget before you buy your new addition, you should be well prepared. All dogs, whatever the breed, require a lot of time and attention and don't do well when left alone for long periods. Unless someone is at home most of the time you may need to consider a lower maintenance pet that doesn't require so much devotion.