Most kids pine and beg to have a pet. Whether it’s a cat, dog, bird, or hamster ultimately doesn’t matter; they would take them all if you’d let them. One of the most difficult dilemmas with getting a new pet for your child (or for yourself, let’s be real) is deciding if you have enough time to devote to caring for them.
Lucky for you, not all pets are high maintenance. So before you put a stop to the whole animal dream, consider adopting one of these pets into your home.
Small and (Mostly) Furry
For something that still feels pretty normal but is usually contained, you can’t go wrong with a rodent or two. These include hamsters, gerbils, and mice. And if you’re looking for a pet a little larger and a little less ordinary, a guinea pig, rabbit, or quilled hedgehog is a fun step up.
It’s best to keep small animals in a wired cage rather than one of glass so they get the ventilation they need. Caring for these small animals will consist of feeding them regularly and cleaning their cage weekly. If you decide to buy more than one, you may need to clean things up more often.
By Water, Land, or Air
Not a fan of small rodents? There are still several easy pets to choose from that stay contained, like fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and birds.
Fill an aquarium with a few fish, making sure to decide beforehand whether you’ll go salt or freshwater. Tropical fish like tetras will need the full tank setup with a filter and heat, which means cold water fish like goldfish should be skipped over for other fish suited to the same environment.
Exciting creepy crawlies include snakes, lizards, and tarantulas. Not all species are easy to care for, but some great ones to look at are pythons, leopard geckos, hermit crabs, and bearded dragons. These will be fun to watch, especially as they shed or molt. Snakes will need to be fed anywhere between twice a week to once every few weeks, and reptile cages should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
The most low-maintenance birds are small ones. Birds like canaries and finches are happy to keep to themselves and avoid human handling, though finches are still quite social, needing a few companions and space in a flight cage. Lovebirds will also need a companion, but they will also enjoy being affectionate with you without feeling clingy.
Common and Not-so-common
If you’re looking for a pet that can roam free in your home or yard and still keep out of your hair, the best animal to choose would be a cat. Cats are very independent and can usually handle your long hours away from home.
But other fun pets you might not have considered are a fox, duck, pig, or goat. Most of these sound like pets to keep in the barn (except the fox–keep him away from the chickens!), but they generally need similar care to that of a cat. If you’re going for one of these more exotic animals, check up on the local and state laws to make sure you can legally keep them as a pet.
Whether you’ve gone with a tried and true classic or something more out of the box, you’ll want to search for vets in your area. You can get further advice from them on choosing a pet, caring for it, and knowing when to visit the vet.