It can be tempting to pick up a puppy from that person that’s giving them away on the street, but if you have small kids in the home you need to think twice before you throw a pet into the mix. Small kids don’t always understand how to handle pets appropriately, and their actions could have consequences if animals feel threatened. That said, there are certain pets and breeds that are better suited to life with young children. Here are a few you might want to consider.
1. Dogs. When it comes to small children, certain breeds of dog will provide a better fit. For example, you might not want a teacup dog that the kids might accidentally step on, but you also don’t want a large breed that might step on or knock over your kids. And you’ll also want to avoid typically aggressive breeds (Chows, German shepherds, etc.) and potentially even nervous or high-strung breeds (poodles, yorkies, and so on). So which dogs are better for kids? Beagles are a great choice since they’re medium sized and they tend to be social, playful, and curious. Collies, as a herding breed, also make for great family dogs. And of course, you can’t go wrong with labs and retrievers, although you might want to start with puppies so that they can grow along with your kids.
2. Cats. Some people assume that cats are not going to be good pets for small children because they are aloof and self-sufficient. But this depends largely on the personality of the cat. Most people don’t realize that while cats tend to be fairly low-maintenance, they are definitely social creatures that love to play and be groomed. They will often sleep with family members and demand attention, making them good companions for kids, so long as you train your kids not to pounce on them.
3. Rabbits. It’s smaller than a dog and it’s cuter than a cat, but they can be the largest furry pet for your kids (or the smallest). Bunny rabbits are essentially the most adorable animal for small children. If there is more than one child playing with a single rabbit, children need that little extra ‘care training around small furry animals’ with bunnies as they tend to run around at maximum warp if let loose (it’s safe; it’s the chewing part that isn’t – so protect the house from access to cables et al). A lone child with a lone rabbit is a match made in heaven. And bunnies simply love cuddles as does a child.
4. Guinea pigs. Lots of parents think that small pets like hamsters, mice, and gerbils will be great for small kids, but there are a couple of reasons why this is a bad idea. For one thing, these small pets can be very hard to catch if they scamper away. But the bigger issue is that young children don’t always have the best control of their motor skills and it’s not uncommon for them to accidentally squeeze a tiny pet too hard. Guinea pigs, while still small, are big enough that your tyke’s little hands shouldn’t hurt them, and they’ll no doubt love the squeaks and squeals emitted by these vocal critters, especially if you have a couple since they like to chatter with one another.
5. Goldfish. Brightly colored and sparkling fish in a bowl of water is a great way to relax kids and keep them distracted simply by them watching them in wonder – and when they’re in their own room with a Goldfish you know where they are and where their pet is; so you’re relaxed as a parent too. When kids go to sleep, they’re always close to their pet fish, so the bond is stronger than you might think even if they can’t really play. Goldfish are very easy to keep, but an adult will need to check daily… just to be sure.