Read About Best Small Pet Breeds for Children

Some of the best small pet breeds for children include guinea pigs, rats, and hamsters. It is important to note that all of these animals are nocturnal in nature, and will likely be most active late in the day and at night. They are, however, sociable and easy to care for, and definitely fun for kids to have around. It is important to remember that, for the safety of both the children and the pets, children should always be supervised around animals.

Guinea pigs, with their docile personalities, are among the best small pet breeds for children. Guinea pigs usually have mild temperaments, which is why they are a popular choice for family pets. Guinea pigs are active, smart animals that can often be taught simple tricks. Guinea pigs like to run around and explore, so taking them out daily to allow them some exercise is ideal. This also provides a great opportunity for children to bond with their pets. Care should be used when picking up guinea pigs; it is important to use two hands and support the animal's hindquarters while holding the shoulders. Guinea pigs generally do not require much grooming, which helps make it easier for children to care for them.

Another one of the best small pet breeds for children is rats. While many people may find this surprising, pet rats are intelligent and affectionate and usually do very well with children. Rats are very social animals and are usually happiest when kept in same-sex pairs. Nocturnal by nature, pet rats will be most active at night. Rats should be picked up gently, cradling their bodies. Rats are very playful pets and will enjoy a variety of toys. Rats are very intelligent animals and can be trained to eat from and climb into your hands. Rats can also often be taught to respond when their names are called, complete mazes, sit on a child's shoulder or in a pocket, and other simple tricks.

Hamsters are another one of the best small pet breeds for children. They are not always as high on the list as guinea pigs and rats because they tend to be a bit less hardy and less patient that guinea pigs or rats. Hamsters can make good pets for children, but require patience and proper handling. There are two main kinds of hamster kept as pets: Syrian (the most common) and dwarf hamsters. Syrian hamsters are a bit larger, and therefore less fragile, and are usually more suitable as pets for children. Syrian hamsters are loners and should be kept alone, as they will fight if more than one is in a cage. Hamsters should always be carefully picked up in one cupped hand, with the other hand gently over the animal's back to prevent her from jumping out of your hand. Supervise children carefully around hamsters, since they can be prone to biting.

Small pets can be wonderful additions to a family, to give children companionship and help teach them responsibility. Some of the best small pet breeds for children are guinea pigs, rats, and hamsters. Regardless of how docile a pet seems, children should always be supervised around animals.