Read About Choosing a Small Pet

When choosing a small pet, you need to consider the interests of the family. Do you want to be able to handle and hold the pet? What type of maintenance do you wish to provide? Do you want the animal to be active during the day or during the night? Are there any allergies in the family? What other animals are already in the house? How many years are you willing to care for your small pet? Great small pets include fish, turtles, lizards, frogs, birds, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters and other small rodents. ImageAvoid impulse purchases of a small pet and be sure to read up and become familiar with the type of small pet you are thinking about adding to the family so you are prepared for its needs and care.

Fresh water fish are a fairly low maintenance small pets and can fit into any lifestyle. Higher maintenance small pets include reptiles and amphibians that will need specific temperature requirements, lighting and possibly live food. Snakes, on average, are lower maintenance than other reptiles. Small rodents are moderate in maintenance – minimal care outside of keeping the cage clean to keep the odor down. A number of small rodents are nocturnal (i.e., hamsters) and will likely be sleeping when the kids want to play and active when the family is trying to sleep. If allergies are a concern when choosing a small pet, fish or reptiles are a good choice for you.

When choosing a small pet, all family members will need to be taught the correct way to handle the pet. Improper handling can harm the small pet and many will react with a bite if handled too roughly. Most small rodents if regularly, gently handled and hand-fed when young tend to be calm as adults. Most rodents can be kept in pairs or groups (preferably of the same gender to prevent breeding). Obviously fish can not be handled but are great to watch! Reptiles are also known to harbor Salmonella so you need to make sure that everyone washes their hands immediately after handling the pets. Birds need adult supervision so children are not bitten or scratched and require socialization and regular handling.

You need to look at life expectancy when choosing your small pet. Small rodents generally live less than 4 years. Ferrets will entertain you for 8-11 years. Some reptiles especially turtles and some birds can live for over 50 years. You will need to be ready to commit to the care for your small pet for its whole life.

A family’s choice is Imagereally dependent on what the parents are willing to take on themselves. Young children are not responsible enough to properly and consistently care for a small pet without adult supervision.

No matter which small pet you decide to purchase, make sure that you purchase the appropriate housing, bedding, and food.

You should also examine the store, its cages and the condition of their animals. Cages should be clean and have water and food provided. The animals should appear healthy (no discharge, animals alert and energetic, etc.). Look for a small pet that appears curious rather than darting to hide, jumping out of your hand or biting (an indication of handling). When choosing a small pet, be sure to purchase one from a reputable breeder or pet store so that you will get a healthy addition to the family.