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Choosing the Small Pet for You

Last Updated: 26.02.20

 

Whether this guide helps you or not only depends on what you’re willing to take from it. Since small pets come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes it can be very hard to know what choice is the right one. While gerbils and hamsters are quick and skittish, mice and guinea pigs are also good companions for people who can understand and accommodate them.

 

Why choose gerbils?

Gerbils are some of the most fun pets to have due to the fact that they are quick and agile. They are extremely fun to watch since their burrowing nature will make them spend hours upon hours digging simply for the pleasure of it and this can be a captivating thing to watch.

Due to their natural agility and quickness, young children may have trouble holding them since they may squeeze them too hard by accident. As a result, gerbils are usually more interesting to watch rather than to handle, especially if your kids are involved in the process.

 

 

Why choose hamsters?

Hamsters have been the staple of small household pets for decades due to their peaceful nature and their fun and active personality. However, any prospective owner should always remember that they are nocturnal animals which means they can be disappointing play friends for small children because they will normally be sleeping when kids get home from school.

Furthermore, your hamster will usually emerge just when it’s time for your boy or girl to go to bed so the timing may not always be the best. Disturbing them from their sleep is also not a bright idea since your furry friends can bite when drowsy and their not-so-great eyesight is even poorer when you startle them from a deep rest. 

Even if you do choose to eventually get one, you also have to know what type you are getting. While dwarf hamsters may be okay since they like to have company and can thrive in same-sex pairs or even groups, Syrian hamsters are more lonely and they only enjoy their life when they live alone.

 

Why choose mice?

While some people may first be frightened of them, mice can provide hours of endless fun since they are naturally inclined to be explorers and love to dash through tunnels or climb some rope. Even better, they are generally friendly pets that will rarely bite or scare your children. However, because they are so fast and agile, kids may have difficulties holding them.

As a tip, you should never hold the tip of the tail when you want to pick them up. Instead, hold the base gently but firmly then elevate their back and place your hand under their body.

 

Why choose guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are somewhat of a special choice because they can definitely make good companions for both adults and children but you really have to like them to love them. They are entertaining to watch and can express a varied vocabulary with their body and the way they act. Also, they’re not as skittish as, say, hamsters or gerbils can be.

Once you two get closer and start knowing each other, you will be able to tell quite often if they are happy, sad, angry, or any other feeling they may choose to express. The thing with guinea pigs is that they won’t be happy if you simply let them be in a hutch at the bottom of your garden.

Instead, they require shelter from all types of predators and weather as well as a run where they can graze and exercise freely, away from any type of danger. Furthermore, you’ve absolutely got to make sure they have the companionship of their own kind or they won’t survive long. Gentle and shy, guinea pigs will be a great first companion for your child too. 

If you accomplish these conditions, you will get a very healthy animal that should be with you for some time, even though they can still be prone to certain diseases like dental ones or bladder stones. Therefore, try and keep them inside to at least diminish the risk of these cool-climate animals suffering from hot environments.

 

 

Why choose chinchillas?

Like guinea pigs, chinchillas are one of those types of pets that can be great to own as long as they’re properly cared for. They are intelligent and interesting companions, especially since you can even teach them a trick or two after you’ve gotten to know each other and they are comfortable in your presence. 

Compared to other pets, do give consideration to the fact that chinchillas have a fairly long lifespan, reaching up to 15 years or so. If you are thinking of buying one for your children don’t forget that they may be well grown up and away from home by the time your favorite companion reaches the later stages of its life.

Also, like hamsters, chinchillas are nocturnal animals so don’t count on them being all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by the time your kids get home from school. You will also have to acquire a very large cage since they need a lot of room plus a dust bath, something that is absolutely essential for the pet’s overall well-being. 

Your companion’s dust baths will become legendary since they are very enthusiastic about this activity and enjoy making a mess of themselves. Also, never house a chinchilla alone because they will die of loneliness. Either get a female with a neutered male or, at the very least, litter-mates that share the same sex and have preferably shared the same cage since birth. 

Therefore, a happy chinchilla will require an active and happy owner since their accommodation will always demand some exercise time, preferably out of their cage so they can roam freely.

 

Why choose rabbits?

On the one hand, many people consider rabbits to be great pets for children since they are fluffy, cuddly, and intelligent creatures. However, they are still many things to take into consideration before thinking of getting one and that is even more true if you have young children.

First things first, always remember that rabbits are still at their core prey animals so their very basic instincts make them ready to flee from danger at all times. Therefore, those that are kept in tight hutches won’t have a space to feel secure so, when a child will pick it up, the rabbit may inadvertently try to scratch or bite in order to get away. 

If you do end up buying one, make sure to prepare your child and inform them that their new best buddy will not be very pleased to be picked up or cuddles for the first few times. That being said, when their accommodation is correctly installed and all the conditions are there, rabbits do make for good companions and playmates. 

To make sure that your kid and your long-eared friend get along well, adult supervision is always recommended. Even better, a wooden Wendy house construction coupled with an integral run area will be very good to have in order to provide adequate housing for the bunny and make it more relaxed. 

By doing this, you create an environment where children can sit and wait for the rabbits to come to them, allowing the animals to feel more confident because they know they have their feet on the ground and can run in a moment’s notice should they feel the need to. Other than that, this also means bad weather won’t stop you from attending to your net pet.

Also, like pretty much all pets on this list, rabbits require certain conditions to be met in order to be good companions. It’s very important that yours has a friend of its own kind, as otherwise, it won’t have a long or happy life. While many people believe rabbits and guinea pigs can live together happily ever after, this is not the case, ever!

Furthermore, their approximate lifespan when in captivity is between six and eight years so keep in mind that if you get your child a bunny, you may well end up with a mature rabbit and a teenager leaving for college. 

 

 

 

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Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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