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easy pets for kids
Posted by: lazydays
Date: May 20, 2009 12:14PM
My two daughters are asking for pets on a daily basis now. Dogs, cats, rabbits etc. I am not thrilled with the idea of having a pet but recognize it may be a good thing for the girls. Dogs, cats and rabbits are not an option though. Whatever we get needs to be small and easy to care for. Suggestions and experiences? Thanks.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: DaviDC.
Date: May 20, 2009 12:16PM
Pet rock.
They can be left unattended for days at a time.



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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 20, 2009 12:18PM
worms.



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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: May 20, 2009 12:22PM
Gerbils.... primarily active during the day (hamsters are active at night). A ten gallon tank will give two a very nice home (get two of the same sex). They are fun to watch (I wanted to put my son's in the living room to watch their antics). Care is pretty minimal, food lasts 3-4 days, water the same. Change the bedding every week or two. Lifespan is about three years.

They get used to being handled as long as it is gentle.

Same basic thing holds true for a guinea pig except the tank needs to be larger and they live longer. They are also much noisier.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: AAA
Date: May 20, 2009 12:24PM
sea monkees
or
lice

In all actuality, our mutt gives back more than we put in. For the maintenance, time and trouble, she has been a gift to us. Well worth the effort.

Just two scoops of food a day. She doesn't make any messes, bark, and all she desires is to be loved. I could not ask for more.

There are some very tiny breeds that would not take up much time or food. They can take care of themselves except the food/water thing mostly. I would not eliminate them from my list.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: vicrock
Date: May 20, 2009 12:25PM
How old are the girls???
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: Shakes
Date: May 20, 2009 12:36PM
A Betta fish. One in a bowl, feed daily, clean once a month.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: zeppo2
Date: May 20, 2009 12:40PM
Bearded dragons can be fun, although there isn't much joy in touching them. We've run the gamut of all pets with our boys, who are now teenagers, and looking back at the lizards, snakes, birds, fish, etc.,
I would say everything else was a poor substitute for a dog or cat. The boys just never bonded that closely with the other animals. Could your girls be persuaded to temporarily be animal foster parents or the family participate in guide dog training? Or provide vacation pet sitting during summer just to get the experience? I agree that pets can be integral to a child learning responsibility, but it can definitely backfire if the pet doesn't elicit feelings of love in the child.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: lazydays
Date: May 20, 2009 12:44PM
The girls are 9 and 4. Fish would be MY pick but I'm thinking they will want something they can touch. The gerbil might be a good idea.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: DaviDC.
Date: May 20, 2009 12:47PM
Gerbils bite! Guinea pigs don't. Guinea pigs enjoy being petted & some actually enjoy being handled.



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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 20, 2009 12:49PM
gerbils but they're not that cuddly. guinea pigs would be a bit more work than a gerbil but much less than a dog.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: billb
Date: May 20, 2009 12:52PM
baby brother










devil smiley
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: vicrock
Date: May 20, 2009 01:16PM
The reason not to consider a cat?
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 20, 2009 01:27PM
Having had almost every warm blooded critter in our household known to mankind, I'll say this.

The small animals, referred to as "pocket pets" live far shorter lives than dogs and cats. They don't bond with the children, and they don't become part of the family as well. There is a reason dogs and cats have been domesticated companion animals for so long.

If you can't do dogs and cats for allergy reasons, then most of the fuzzy pocket pets are out of your picture as well. If you can't do them due to housing restrictions, you may wish to do some research. Cats are usually acceptable, and cats make a very nice companion animal for the female of the human species, IMHO.

My youngest son kept guinea pigs, and they have been affectionate, snuggly animals. I recommend 'em.

In the end, work with what works for you. But recognize that the minute you bring pocket pets into the family, you will need to teach the children about death, once the little critter reaches the end of his short lifespan.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: jesse
Date: May 20, 2009 01:48PM
Rats make very good pets, they don't bite like gerbils and hamsters. We went to the pet store to purchase a hamster for our daughter and after talking to the guy who worked there and handling the hamsters and rats, we ended up leaving with two rats.

Here's a little bit of info on rats as pets:

[exoticpets.about.com]
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: rz
Date: May 20, 2009 02:07PM
guinea pigs DO bite if they aren't handled properly. My sister had several growing up, and I remember one in particular that didn't like being picked up, and would bite you if you tried when she wasn't in the right mood.

Again, not sure why cats are out of the question. Girls love cats.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: May 20, 2009 02:49PM
I'm guessing the 15+ year lifespan of a cat or dog may figure into the desire to steer clear of those choices. Sometimes a short lifespan is a good thing.

A gerbil gently handled on a regular basis won't generally bite, same as a Guinea Pig (and the Guinea Pig has much larger teeth). Any animal can and will bite if mishandled - that's called self-defense.

One caveat - is the four year old hyper or rough? She could easily kill a small animal by crushing or dropping it. Small does not mean disposable.

I built a wirescreen second layer in our gerbil cage (35 gallon aquarium) that can be rearranged and changed in order to give the little guys some fun. Right now they have to climb one layer then jump to another to get to their food.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: May 20, 2009 03:21PM
But what kind of a pet do your girls want? Their ability to bond with it and feel they have a "pet" will depend a whole lot on how they view the little critter. If anybody had ever offered me a rat, I'm sure I would have been mightily disappointed and continued to feel I didn't really get anything. That wouldn't bode well for the future of the pocket pet, either, I fear.

This is a subject that needs to be talked about around the dinner table, not on the forum.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: May 20, 2009 03:32PM
Yeah, a rat is definitely the way to go. With all due respect to hamster aficionados here, the rat is typically more friendly and human-oriented than any other rodent. I've owned mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits and guinea pigs. Other than a couple of churlish guinea pigs, the rats were the only to display any sort of personality. Rats were the only ones who would clamor to be picked up & held.

Gerbils would come in second place. You need to keep at least a pair, by the way.

My 6 year old son has a bearded dragon, and he adores it, but no reptile ever shows affection. Plus, feeding it crickets every day is a pain. I'm willing to indulge his fascination with reptiles and insects but it's not the same as having a pet.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: Doc
Date: May 20, 2009 03:50PM
> A Betta fish. One in a bowl, feed daily, clean once a month.

It'll be dead inside of 3 weeks.

Fish are high maintenance for a kid and the principles behind keeping them alive are not easily learned.

Rats are smart and sociable (the females), but they need large accommodations and should be let out to roam every day and there's a certain stigma to having a rat roaming around the house...

A gerbil or two (matched gender, preferably females since their pee is slightly less odoriferous) would probably be the way to go so long as you supervise their interaction for the first few weeks and lay down the law about regular feedings, water-changes and cage-cleanings.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: The UnDoug
Date: May 20, 2009 03:53PM
I think the forum is a perfectly good place to ask for pet recommendations.

I would love a cat. My daughter would love a cat. My wife.....not so much.

She has had cats, and likes them perfectly well, but she doesn't want:

A cat scratching the furniture (yes, we *could* get it declawed, and of course provide scratching posts, etc.)

A cat peeing on the floor (yes, females are probably less likely to do so)

Cat fur flying all over and getting on clothes (yes there are some essentially non-shedding cats)


But try reasoning with my wife, and find out just how hard it can be to change someone's mind. :-(

So I'm sure we'll go the gerbil, guinea pig, bird route ourselves.

Then when my daughter moves out (in 12 years), I'm going to give her a kitten as a housewarming gift. winking smiley



[www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: testcase
Date: May 20, 2009 05:01PM
C'mon, be a GREAT dad and get them a pony ;) !
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 20, 2009 05:04PM
Uhhhh, I'll avoid the obvious comment. grinning smiley




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: goosegunner
Date: May 20, 2009 05:24PM
Daughter's Beta fish just died the other night. She did the burial via toilet. Wanted to be alone.

We got a cat 2 years ago after years of begging for pet. Turned out to be a pretty good cat from the shelter, but nothing like a dog.

My 11year old daughter still misses our Lab that died 5 years ago. We are just too active to have another dog so a cat was the choice.

gg
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: lazydays
Date: May 20, 2009 06:28PM
Thanks for all the great suggestions and advice. I'm not sure what we will do yet but this info will be helpful.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 20, 2009 11:45PM
Quote
The UnDoug
I think the forum is a perfectly good place to ask for pet recommendations.

I would love a cat. My daughter would love a cat. My wife.....not so much.

She has had cats, and likes them perfectly well, but she doesn't want:

A cat scratching the furniture (yes, we *could* get it declawed, and of course provide scratching posts, etc.)

A cat peeing on the floor (yes, females are probably less likely to do so)

Cat fur flying all over and getting on clothes (yes there are some essentially non-shedding cats)

well then, my little dog doesn't scratch furniture, pee on the floor, or shed. of course, the first two took training and a dog is more work but mine certainly is cuddily. i'm just sayin'...



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/2009 11:47PM by graylocks.
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: billb
Date: May 21, 2009 07:30AM
I don't get the 'fish are too complicated for kids' comment.
For young kids there's a thing known as parental involvement.
And I raised and bred fish and plants and sold them to local retailers through jr. and sr. high school, all on my own. (no guppies)
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: DrSteggy
Date: May 21, 2009 10:13AM
I'm a huge fan of guinea pigs for kids--I find them to be more snuggly than most cage mammal pets (sorry hamster fans!) and they are USUALLY very docile. They are also very vocal, but that can be fun. If allergies are an issue though, people who are allergic to GPs can be dangerously so. They typically live 5-8 years (I had one as a patient that got to be 10 before his heart disease took him) I had a GP that I got talked into, and was pleasantly surprised to find he had a lot of personality. He'd even play with my beagle, who had no clue about the whole predator-prey thing.

GPS do better in a cage with a solid bottom--fish tanks don't allow for enough air circulation for these guys. Feed them a good diet though, and they have few issues.

I personally like rats too, but they creep a lot of people out sad smiley

Jackie
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 21, 2009 12:08PM
Jackie, mine are VERY cuddly -- but then, that's pretty much a result of my little eugenics experiment... I've ended up with ultra-friendly animals that literally want to play with you. (How much of this is nature and how much nurture is a good question -- some of it is for sure genetics, but also you can't discount the social/maternal contribution to the behavior of the pups -- the mom definitely teaches her pups by example.) I haven't had a bite in over two years, and then only from something that wasn't something of mine (e.g., a pet store animal).

Which brings up another point, always (when possible) buy from a reputable breeder, rather than a pet store. The likelihood that you will end up with a well-bred, well-socialized animal is generally better that way.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: easy pets for kids
Posted by: luckytiff02
Date: May 30, 2009 10:07AM
I have 7 and 9 years old sister and we have a dog and a cat, they feed and water them twice daily and put them in and out as needed. I usually clean up the pee/poop most in our furniture if it's in the house. And they are the pooper scooper for the back yard. They also bathe the dog with dad's help. They are definitely old enough to help, the 9 yr old with everything and the 4 yr old with feeding them.
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