What is the best first pet for a child?

  • January 22, 2016

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty that my little only child will get lonely growing up without any siblings. Not quite guilty enough to have another baby, but just guilty enough to consider getting her a pet of her very own.

The problem is that I’m not really a big animal person. I do like animals, I just don’t really like the idea of one in my house, so we’re not doing very well on deciding what animal to go for!

If you’re in the same boat, trying to decide which pet to get for your kids, here are some thoughts that may help you make a decision…


My husband would love a dog but I’m not so keen as big dogs scare me and he doesn’t want a small dog!

Dogs are great pets for families with kids who want a pet to play with, take for walks, and to really be a part of the family. But they can also be a big tie for a busy family who are all at work and school all day. A big concern of mine would be leaving a dog at home all day, and also when we go out for the day at weekends or off on holiday. I’m also not sure any of us would be that willing to get up at 6am to walk a dog in the rain before work and school.

Dogs can also be quite expensive to look after with all the vets bills and the amount of food some of them eat.

But puppies are very cute and they do make great ‘best friends’ for kids.


We’ve toyed with the idea of a cat and I do think this is the most likely option for us.

Cats are easier to look after than dogs as you don’t have to take them for walks and they are ok left alone for longer periods of time. Cats also make great pets for kids who want an animal to play with and cuddle up with. However, if you get a kitten they do like to wreck things and I’m not sure you could leave a new kitten in the house while you were all at work and school?

I do like the idea though of having a pet that can pretty much look after themselves, and doesn’t need walks, baths or grooming. And I do find it hard to resist these cute little furballs.


Hamsters are good pets if you want to start small. They can also be a good idea for people who don’t like to leave animals roaming the house alone during the working day. They’re very cute and pretty low maintenance compared to cats and dogs. The only thing I don’t like the idea of is a smelly hamster cage in my house!

If you want to give your child the responsibility of looking after a pet then hamsters are easy to look after. Kids can still play with hamsters but are they as much fun as other pets?


Now when a pet was first mentioned I quickly suggested a fish or two as surely they are the most low maintenance of all pets! But unfortunately Little H said fish were ‘boring’. So that put an end to that idea.

However, if your family are too busy for the work that comes with looking after animals, and also the expense of vets bills, then fish are a great option as a first pet for children. Though obviously they don’t live for long so bear that in mind.

Plus you can get some really cool looking fish that definitely aren’t boring.


I would love a rabbit, I had one as  child (Rosie Rabbit!) and it was the perfect first pet. Very cute, cuddly, and easy to look after.

The only problem for us right now is that we have a very small garden with no grass so it’s not really a very practical pet for us at this time. I would also feel really bad leaving the poor thing outside in the winter and we don’t have room in a shed or garage to put it.

If you do have a garden then a little bunny hopping around would be great fun for kids to play with. They are low maintenance and easy for kids to help feed and clean out.


Update Sept 2017: We got a cat in the end!

What animal would my fellow parents recommend for a 4.5 year old’s first pet? Would love to hear what animals other families have chosen.


What's the best first pet for a child? | Pets for children | Pet Lovers | What pet should I choose? | Parenting | #pets #parenting #animallovers
What's the best first pet for a child? | Pets for children | Pet Lovers | What pet should I choose? | Parenting | #pets #parenting #animallovers
What's the best first pet for a child? | Pets for children | Pet Lovers | What pet should I choose? | Parenting | #pets #parenting #animallovers



  • Sam Bourne (@luckytwinmumsam)

    I am going to follow this post as really interested to know the answer. Alfie wants a pet for his 5th birthday in March. I considered Guinea pigs but someone said the squeaking drove them mad! We are now looking into rabbits with a potential to train as a house rabbit. Great post 🙂

  • Life as Mum

    This was really interesting to read although I don’t want pets at the moment, would be great in few years to come!
    Thank you so much for linking up to #justanotherlinky

  • Something Crunchy Mummy

    Really interesting post. I want to get our boys done Guinea pigs or rabbits. I’m not a hamster person. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  • lifewithpinkprincesses

    How can a Guinea pig be classed as large?! That’s basically calling a chihuahua a giant dog breed. We want a dog when we have our own home and garden

  • Leanne Cornelius

    We have cats and our eleven month loves them, I’m so excited for her to grow up with them!
    My sister has just got fish, her 6 year old loves them but her 3 year old isn’t really bothered by them, maybe fish will be more entertaining in a few years?
    A rabbit is always a good option, I have no idea how high/low maintenance they are as I’ve never had them, but they’re cute and fluffy 🙂


  • lisagraham1

    I like the idea of rabbits or fish. What about an indoor cat and then you don’t have to worry about a cat flap? I’m sure little H will like whatever you choose xx

  • Kerry norris

    We’ve got a dog but that’s cause we’ve always had them when I was growing up. We also have fish and a rabbit. Of all of them I’d say the rabbit gives me the most grief. So messy and it stinks lol x

  • steph_baybee

    We have just lost our guinea pigs but they were so cute, and lovely to handle for kids. They were such happy little things. However they poo soooo much! I imagine rabbits would too. I hated cleaning them out in the rain and cold during the winter. We couldn’t keep them indoors as my daughters were allergic to them. I loved my hamster when I was a little girl, it went everywhere with me, they are so quick to clean out, you could clean them out often easily as their cage is small.

  • lambandbear

    We have a beautiful ragdoll cat. She’s so fluffy and beautiful. Personally I think cats are easier than hamster as you don’t have a cage to clean! I’m lazy and don’t want the extra task! Ha!


Leave a comment...