For most, there comes a time when parents want their children to have (a) pet(s). Just what type of pet is the best though? It depends on the environment, child, parent, time allotted to be able to spend with the animal and of course, the budgetary means of keeping the pet. Pets are wonderful if chosen properly and the parent takes the time to consider all the aspects before impulse buying. To avoid impulse buying, read “First Pet for Kids: Debunk Myths and a Look at Facts for Parents”.
Fish as Pets for Kids
The child goes into the store and sees the beautiful colors and is awed as they look from tank to tank. “Mommy, can I have a fish?” Before jumping in and thinking these would be the easiest pet to get, look at the whole picture.
- Can be inexpensive. Depends on the setup and type of fish. The easiest and most inexpensive while being visually appealing is a Male Betta fish. Please note that only one Betta per tank. They are Siamese fighting fish and will kill one another. Don’t put a male and female together. Unless the parent wants to do some intense research, don’t try to breed anything. They don’t typically need a heater, filter or air bubbler as they gather their air from the surface.
- Low maintenance. The tank needs to be cleaned once a week. Betta’s are hardy fish and handle the cleaning of the tank quite well. Follow other general rules of fish care from fetchdogboutique.com/.
- Bigger tanks are colorful and children can spend time just watching and gazing at the activity of the several fish. Visually appealing and entertaining.
- Anything other than one male betta fish can become an expensive pet. Visit about.com for fresh aquariums for general set up and guidelines if a full blown tank of several fish is the desired result. Starting this as the hobby can cost $150-$200 just in start up costs and has continuous costs monthly.
- One of the biggest cons is that kids can’t really play with them. All they can do is feed them twice a day and watch. From experience, it’s a horrifying experience to set a tank in the children’s room only to come in and see they took the lid off and finding dead fish on the floor because they wanted to “play with him”.
- Plan on buying some kind of screen for the top of the aquarium that secures tightly or kids will be kids. They put stuff in the tank, try to share their food with the fish or even try to take them out. Otherwise put them on a high shelf they can’t reach but then that sort of gets rid of the reason for having them in the first place.
A Child’s First Puppy or Dog
- Dogs do provide much more in return than the fish in a bowl does. Companionship, lifelong friendship and a wonderful guardian.
- Playful, animated, soft and cuddle will appeal to the children as well as the adults.
- Unconditional love and never home alone.
- Their love and playfulness last even past the puppy stage.
- Long lives and infrequent pet shopping due to short life spans (like fish).
- Can be expensive.
- Time consuming: they need walks, play time and just time around their family.
- Expensive when they get sick or older with ailments.
- Very long-term commitment: up to 15-18 years.
If the decision about a dog is unsure, there are some options to try before fully committing. Many rescue places are in need of foster homes for abandoned pets. They match up dogs with the type of place the dog needs and the fosters care for them until a more permanent home is found. Offer to be a foster family for a dog in need. This way, the household gets used to having a dog along with the pros and cons that come with it. Who knows, maybe the family will fall in love and what started out as a foster home will become that forever home.
The Playful Kitten or Cat for Children
Second most popular to the dog is the cat. (Although cat-lovers will disagree.) Their life spans can be just as long as some dogs so people need to realize this is a long-term commitment. Cats can be great pets if the owner is informed and has done their research. Also note that people have a common allergy to cats. Try to expose the family to situations with cats such as the local shelter to test this before purchasing or adopting one for the home.
- Always have a companion at home.
- Fairly inexpensive to buy the actual cat or kitten.
- House will be rodent free.
- Not usually as time consuming as dog. They have more of an independent nature and choose when they want their owners time.
- Doesn’t have to be taken for walks or exercised.
- Vet bills can be expensive in routine and emergency care.
- Litter box training is essential and cleaning the litter box is no fun. (Pregnant women should NOT clean the litter box.)
- Cats needs scratch toys and to be trained not to scratch up the carpet, furniture, beds…etc.
- Their independent nature also means that the owner may want to pick them up and play with them but the cat doesn’t want to. The cat will get it’s way whether by clawing or biting.
Pets with Children and Adults can Liven up a Home
Pets of varying kinds can be wonderful additions to a home. They can provide calming stimulation, a sense of accomplishment and love toward them each time the owner sees them. Pets become part of the family no matter the size and take a hold of the part of the heart. They are a like a child in many ways as they require quite a lot of care but provide such rewards it goes beyond describing. Pets can be wonderful in the lives of those who are ready for them.