5 Interesting Pets to Consider for Your Kids ...

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5 Interesting Pets to Consider for Your Kids ...
5 Interesting Pets to Consider for Your Kids ...

At some point in their lives your children will come to you and ask for a pet...and yes they will keep asking until they get one! But what if you live in the city and don't have room for a dog or live in an apartment where dogs and cats are not allowed? Even if you live in an ideal place for a dog, your kids might not be ready for the responsibility of a pet like that. Guest blogger Jane Warren from Pamper the Petsis here with us today to share 5 Interesting Pets to Consider for Your Kids, some you may not have thought about....
5 Great Pets You Might Not Have Considered...
**Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. **-Colette

Perhaps no image is more iconic than that of a child and his dog. Children and animals are natural companions, and your child can learn much from having a furry, feathery or scaly friend. Although dogs are the quintessential childhood pet and children's first pets are often hamsters or gerbils, there are several other excellent pet options for children that you might not have even considered. These 5 pets are relatively low maintenance, safe for most children and can be great substitutes for dogs and other maintenance-intensive pets.

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1

Chinchillas...

Chinchillas are medium-sized rodents that look like fat squirrels. Friendly, inquisitive and highly social, they are excellent choices for children who love furry animals but who can't get a dog. They require little daily maintenance, but love spending time out of their cages. With careful socialization, they can bond strongly with their owners. Parents should note that chinchillas need large cages and can be messy, but a few minutes each day with a vacuum will eliminate dust, bedding and other messes shed from your chinchilla's cage.

2

Guinea Pigs...

Guinea pigs are popular classroom pets and for good reason. These small mammals are friendly, easily tamed and generally fairly low maintenance. They require an appropriately sized cage and time spent out of their cage every day, but they are neither messy nor expensive. They can also bond with their owners and provide much of the same affection that children receive from dogs and cats.

3

Turtles and Tortoises...

Tortoises are land turtles while turtles--with the exception of box turtles--live in water. While some turtles and tortoises grow quite large and require extensive care, small box turtles and water turtles can make excellent pets for children. These animals do require large enclosures, but once their enclosures are set up, they require very little maintenance. Both turtles and tortoises tend to be friendlier than other reptiles and are unlikely to bite your child. Unlike dogs and cats, they don't require items like greenies dental chews, toys, collars, and leashes.

4

Snakes...

Although many parents are instantly repulsed by the mere thought of a snake, snakes can actually make excellent pets for older children. Small snakes are unlikely to cause harm even if they do bite, and well-socialized snakes bond strongly with their owners. Even better, snakes require very little maintenance and many snakes only need to be fed once every few weeks. While many parents are concerned about the idea of feeding snakes mice and other live foods, most snake experts now advise feeding pre-killed frozen food, which means feeding your child's snake is no more gross than feeding a dog. Especially for parents who are put off by cat litter boxes, wee wee pads for dogs, and the numerous other "inconveniences" that come along with dogs and cats, a snake can make an ideal pet.

5

Lizards...

Some lizards, especially geckos and bearded dragons, are both low maintenance and capable of bonding with their owners. Children over 5 can learn to safely handle these animals, and lizards rarely require expensive veterinary care. They also are unlikely to suffer if they're not given much attention, making them an ideal choice for busy families and easily distracted children.

When choosing a pet for your child, it's important to consider his/her maturity level, your ability to care for the animal, and your child's specific desires for a pet. Think outside the box and consider non-traditional pets. You just might find a new best friend for your child.

About the Author

Jane Warren is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, lifestyle and pet care topics. A dedicated animal rescuer, she's convinced animal people know where she lives, as she's had several pets dropped off at her home! Find out more at her blog www.pamperthepets.com.

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Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Hi there, I must absolutely disagree with this article. Having owned a chin myself for several years now, I can firmly say that chinchillas are not child-friendly pets at all and should not be advocated as such. They are very fragile and delicate creatures; chins have floating ribs, meaning that if they are picked up the wrong way, they can be easily hurt or even killed by a well-meaning but grabby child. And while they most definitely are friendly, inquisitive, and sociable, they are also not entirely domesticated either; chins still have much of that "wildness" of feral animals. They do indeed love spending time out of their cage, roaming around and exploring your living room, but they will not be cuddled, squeezed, or held. (Would you like a warm body snuggling up to you if you were wearing that much fur?). They do show much love in their own way, but it takes years to bond with a chinchilla, as they have long memories and do not trust easily. Chinchillas are also nibbly creatures; they test their environment with their teeth. A finger in front of them will usually result in a brief nibble, painless to an adult, but quite hurtful and confusing to a young child. They will bite when scared by loud noises or unusual people holding them. Recommending a chinchilla as a viable substitute for a dog is misleading and very wrong. It is easy to meet these darling creatures and see them as larger hamsters or "fat squirrels", but they are exotic pets, and require all the care and special knowledge that comes with a special pet. For this reason exactly, many chinchilla breeders, including the ranch I bought my own chin from, will not sell to anyone under 18, and will refuse to sell to parents looking for a pet for a young child. For the sake of anyone reading this article, I would highly recommend a guinea pig for any child under 14. They are hardier and much more tolerant of younger kids, love cuddling, and are also low-maintenance and easy to take care of.

Reptiles and amphibians can often carry salmonella, just wanna throw that out there. I do love snakes and I own a rosy boa, she has become a very sweet and sociable snake with lots of time and handling. For anyone looking to buy a new pet, be it exotic or not, do your research. I've had so many experiences of friends getting rid of pets that I took in for them (like chinchillas, water dragons, sugar gliders, etc) because they couldn't care for them anymore. Please, please please...do your research. Understand both the pros and cons.

turtles are NOT low maintenance. I have two. You need to empty and completely clean the tank every month, and do a weekly surface water change. They require a UV bulb and a light bulb to bask, a good filter and a basking dock. All these are quite expensive. Plus they are picky eaters. They get bored of the same food, so you have to offer a variety of deffernt foods, from fish, to mealworms, to turtle pelets, to lettuce and strawberries. Turtles also bite if not properly socialized, and live for 30 + years. Unless you want to commit to a turtle for 30 + years, i woudlnt suggest getting one.

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