Great Pets for Older Children

By Genie Fletcher  | Submitted On June 28, 2016


Thinking about saying yes to getting your tween or teen a pet? Older children can care for all kinds of pets with unique features and needs. Whichever pet they set their heart on, there are many important questions to consider before choosing one. Do you want:

~ A pet for companionship or practical reasons?
~ Indoors or outdoors pet?
~ To cuddle it?
~ A pet that stays in its habitat or roams around?

Do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you own or rent? How big is your yard, and is it fenced? Does your child travel overnight much? Does anyone living in the home have fears about or allergies to any animal? How much can you afford to spend monthly on pet supplies and pet care? Here are tips about seven pets you may want to consider.

1-2. Dogs, Cats

Animal shelters have plenty for adoption. Both make great companions but there are risks of injury from dog bites and cat scratches. Both need periodic immunizations, regular worming and ongoing flea prevention. Cats get exercise walking around the house, but dogs need to walk, run and play every day. There will be poop to scoop daily for either, but cuddling and companionship are worth it.

728x90 Generic Banner

3. Parrots

Parrots are lively, playful, colorful and costly. They bite hard. They mimic easily, can quickly learn to talk, and are noisy. Parrots need lots of space and like coming out of their cages, but will peck and ruin wood furnishings. They eat seeds, fresh produce and nuts, often discarding shells outside the cage.

4-5. Horses, Pygmy Goats

These outdoor animals need plenty of room and shelter from the elements. Some animal shelters may have horses for adoption under $2,000. A horse requires a lot of care every day without exception. If you do not have space for a horse, you can board them at nearby stables or small farms. Pygmy goats are miniature creatures content to graze grass and drink water. You can pet and thank them for keeping the orchard mowed.

6. Seahorses

These fantastic aquatic creatures are fragile, but once you get their marine ecosystem set up, they are about as easy to care for as other fish. Seahorses eat about six to eight frozen Mysis shrimp per day and grow to five to eight inches tall. They need easy-to-grasp hitching structures like kelp or faux coral. Instead of getting seahorses caught in the wild, getting captive-bred seahorses does not contribute to their depletion.

7. Chinchillas

Chinchillas can live 20 years. They eat pellets from the pet store, drink fresh water and need a solid-bottomed, wire cage. These soft, furry, fragile creatures can be gently cuddled, but are probably best for children over ten years old.

Having pets improves overall health and reduces stress. They provide comfort through times of grief and trauma. Caring for them builds character, trust and confidence. In the end, having pets teaches us about the life cycle and treasuring those we love. No matter the age when you decide to get one, considering personal lifestyles and resources are important parts of choosing great pets for older children.

 

Hamster or Gerbil - Pros and Cons of Each

By Genie Fletcher  | Submitted On March 04, 2016

PFD Food Meme


Having a hamster or gerbil as a pet can be a fun experience but, before you make a decision, you should learn more about the pros and cons of owning each animal.

Are These Animals Friendly?


Even though gerbils and hamsters are popular pet choices, the latter is not too fond of captivity. However, gerbils will make great pets as long as you buy more than one. Of course you have the option to purchase a single gerbil but since they are social animals you should purchase two so they can bond with each other.

If you do choose to purchase multiple hamsters and gerbils, it is a good idea to purchase two males. Female gerbils and female hamsters are aggressive with each other, but gerbil and hamster males get along well with one another. If you choose to buy a male and female gerbil or hamster, they should not be housed together, especially at a young age. You may also be interested to know that hamsters breed quickly.

Gerbils are ideal pets for children who have little or no experience caring for a small animal. This is due to the fact that gerbils are active throughout the day and rarely bite. Hamsters, however, do not like to be petted or held. Hamsters will bite when they are held or if they become irritated. And, although hamster bites do not cause serious danger, the bites are often painful. If you have young children, a hamster may not be the right pet choice for your family.

Zooplus - Small Animal Food & Supplies

Inexpensive Maintenance

It is not expensive to purchase a hamster or gerbil, nor do you need a large budget to maintain them as pets. Most hamster cages come assembled, as well as any cage accessories you might want to purchase for your pet. Keeping a gerbil or hamster cage clean is also simple to do and it does not cost a lot of money. When purchasing a gerbil or hamster cage, you can spend as little as $50. Likewise, you may spend $50 a year on gerbil or hamster food, depending on the brand you purchase. When it pertains to these pets, their litter and bedding materials are the most expensive part of owning either of the two.

Sleeping Patterns


You should know the sleeping patterns of any pet before making a purchase. If you want to sleep well during the night, a hamster is not the right choice for you. Since hamsters are nocturnal, they will spend most of the day sleeping, and their nights will be spent playing with hamster toys or running on the hamster wheel inside their cage. Hamsters do not like to be woken up for any reason, even to play.

Gerbils are diurnal; therefore, they will not interrupt your sleep by digging or moving around in their cage. Gerbils like to play during the day, which can be fun for you and your children.

Escaping the Cage


Sometimes, regardless of how attentive you are, gerbils and hamsters escape their cages. When a hamster escapes his cage, he will be difficult to find and capture. You should know that hamsters enjoy chewing on furniture and wiring. So, if your pet hamster escapes his cage and he chews on the wires in your home, it could cause a house fire. Gerbils are also hard to find once they escape, which is why you must purchase an escape-proof cage for either of these little critters.

Remember that owning a gerbil or hamster will require some of your time, money, and patience. Overall, gerbils and hamsters can make great pets. But they are not the right choice for every pet owner, which is why you should weigh the pros and cons before choosing one... or two in the case of gerbils... to bring home to meet the family!