The Best Pets for Kids

A young girl hugs her dog.

Children and cuddly critters go together like peanut butter and jelly, which is why many kids plead with their parents for a pet to call their own. Having to provide plenty of TLC to a beloved pet teaches responsibility, compassion, and empathy, plus, if you choose pet adoption from a local shelter, your child learns the value of helping a pet in need. 

To guide you on your journey, our experts at East Sacramento Veterinary Center have put together some hints to help you choose your child’s first pet. 

Food for Thought

We know that when it comes to picking out a pet, it’s often love at first sight! But here are some important things to think about before beginning your pet search:

  • Does anyone in your home have allergies? 
  • Would a “contained” pet, like a hamster, be a better fit for your household?
  • Do you have ample space for everything the pet will need?
  • Who will take over if your child loses interest or goes away to college?
  • Is there room in your budget for up-front costs, regular preventive care, and unexpected emergencies
  • Do you have other pets that will be impacted by the new addition?
  • Do you have access to veterinary care for the species you’re considering?

Popular First Pets

Fish have become the quintessential first pet for good reason: these easy-to-care-for pets are colorful, quiet, and fun to watch. With parental supervision, even young children can help feed fish and choose accessories for the tank.

Low-maintenance pets contained in cages or habitats, such as guinea pigs and hamsters, can be ideal for children old enough to understand gentle handling. Monitor your child’s interactions with the pet, and remind your child to provide food and fresh water daily. 

Cuddle-Worthy Kittens

Nothing turns up the cuteness quotient quite like a kitten! Adopting a feline friend is a fabulous choice for children who can handle a tad more responsibility. Cats are brimming with playful energy (just like most kids!) and love playing with toys, so they can keep each other entertained. You’ll probably still have to pitch in with litter box duty, but your child can provide fresh water and food, and help with grooming. 

A Man’s (and Kid’s) Best Friend

Affectionate, loyal, and overflowing with unconditional love, dogs are currently the No.1 companion pet in the United States. Dogs are a perennial favorite for older children mature enough to walk a dog, take him outside for potty breaks, and assist with grooming. Owning a dog does require plenty of adult supervision, especially when house training

We’re Here for You

If you welcome a new dog or cat into your household, please contact us to schedule a wellness visit—it’s the perfect way to teach your child the importance of providing animals with proper veterinary care.