Family Pets

There are so many benefits that pets provide for kids and the whole family, but it is a big responsibility that needs careful consideration.  Kids always get wrapped up in the idea of owning a new pet, but it’s up to parents to make sure the experience is a positive one and that the pets receive the care they need for their entire lives.

Here are some of the positive benefits for those parents sitting on the fence:

  1. Health benefits: Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma. Playing with pets can lower blood pressure and it gets the kids outdoors more.
  2. Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”—to practice being caregivers.
  3. Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.
  4. Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
  5. Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
  6. Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety. Kids may actually enjoy reading a whole lot more when reading to the dog.

Here is a list of the top pets for kids, content taken from www.care.com:

Dogs

It is easy to find a breed that works for your family and they don’t call them “man’s best friend” for nothing.  They do however take a substantial amount of time and money.  They need regular exercise, grooming and attention.

Cats

Can be very affectionate but also very independent.  A bit less responsibility than having a dog but still a big commitment requiring daily attention – make sure you don’t have allergies.

Rabbits

Rabbits are active and social, so they need plenty of stimulation. You should try to let your rabbit out of its cage every once in a while.  You also need to keep in mind that a rabbit’s cage needs regular cleaning and many rabbits don’t like to be held, which may be difficult for younger kids to understand.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are one of the best types of pets for kids because they’re small and full of personality. These animals can startle easily, though, so it’s important for you to put their cage somewhere where they feel secure. The adorable rodents need regular brushing and playtime, as well. They do best when they have a guinea pig friend to keep them company.

Turtles

A turtle needs to live in a specific type of environment to really thrive. Everything from the temperature to the lighting must be just right, so you have to be ready and willing to set up those conditions. You also need to remember that turtles have particularly long lifespans compared to most other pets, so you might have to care for them long after your kids are off to college.

Birds

Birds are intelligent and social pets. Though they spend most of their time in cages, it is ideal if you can provide them with a safe place in your home to fly freely now and then. Birds really appreciate the time to play and bond. In fact, you may want to consider having more than one so your feathered friend doesn’t get too lonely. These pets do particularly well in a family with kids who are a bit older, because little ones may be afraid of a flying animal.

Lizards/Reptiles

If your family has a particularly busy schedule, you might want to consider getting a lizard. They can be fairly low-maintenance. While the habitat and feeding needs of lizards vary by type, most don’t require extensive grooming or even a great deal of food.
Lizards must be held gently, so they do better with older kids. Though these pets don’t require a lot of attention, they are still a big commitment because many can have long lifespans.

Hamsters & Rats

Hamsters are playful and cuddly, but fairly independent. Although they’re fairly low-maintenance, you have to clean their cages on a weekly basis and ensure that they get enough exercise. On average, hamsters have a short lifespan, so it’s important to keep in mind that your kids might get a lesson in dealing with the loss of a pet sooner rather than later.  Rats offer so much more and have the personality and intelligence of dogs in a small portable and cheaper package – don’t just take our word for it, check it out on Google and you will be amazed at what good, loving pets they make.

Fish

Although fish are clearly not the cuddly type, they still require some care and attention. Most importantly, you have to remember to clean out their tanks. Though fish may not be snuggle in your lap, they’re fun to look at and soothing to have around. If your family has a hectic schedule, these underwater friends can make a great pet.

It cannot be over emphasised that before making the serious commitment of getting a family pet make sure you have done your homework thoroughly and fully understand every angle so there are no surprises.

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