Best Pets for Older Children

Contemplating saying yes to getting your tween or high schooler a pet now that they have asked for the 100th time? Older children can care for a wider range of pets than their younger siblings. Younger children are fine around cats and dogs (older kids are too – see below).  But what are the best pets for older children?

Thinking About a Small Pet?

My thought has always been that there are two types of people that are buying what you could call “accessory pets” (small animals generally contained in cages/tanks):

1) Those who are serious about these pets – they do their research, make sure they have adequate equipment to make their new pet’s life comfortable, find out how to best socialize the animal – and almost never buy them from Petsmart/Petco. They’ll find a breeder or someone who specializes in raising the animal they’re looking to acquire.

2) Those who either simply want an “easy pet” that they feel requires little to no maintenance or they have a child who is bugging them for a pet of their own and they don’t feel like spending a lot of money on something that may not live that long anyway. The people in this category are who are more likely to shop at Petsmart and they are not going to really pay attention to the plight the animals are in because they’re priced right.

I do not subscribe to the idea of “accessory pets” whatsoever. I love all of those little critters and would be a full time Bird LadyTM if I had the time/money. It always breaks my heart to see all those birds cooped up in those tiny glass cases or the beta fish floating lifelessly in miniscule glass bowls. The indignities and disregard people give these animals is just disgusting.

Why Does Your Child Want a Pet?

Whichever pet they set their heart on, there are a few essential items to consider before picking one. Do you need:

A pet for friendship or down to emotional reasons?

Indoor or outside pet?

To snuggle it? For safety or comfort?  For companionship?

How much maintenance should your pet have? A pet that stays in its living space or wanders around?

Do you live in a house or a condo? Do you own your house or lease? How huge is your yard, and is it fenced? Does your youngster travel overnight much? Does anybody living in the home have reasons for alarm about or sensitivities to any creature? What amount would you be able to bear to spend month to month on pet supplies and pet consideration? Here are tips around seven pets you might need to consider.

The 7 Best Pets for Older Children


Guinea Pigs



Pygmy Goats


1. Dogs/Cats

We’ve included dogs and cats in this number one category because dogs and cats are great for people of all ages.  Dogs and cats have literally evolved with humans. We’re kind of interdependent. The different species of cats and dogs provide many different options for many different lifestyles. Both make awesome friends yet there are Best Bets for Older Childrendangers of damage from puppy nibbles and feline scratches. Both need intermittent vaccinations, standard worming and checking for canine and feline disease. Can can simply get exercise strolling around the house.  Dogs are a little more difficult.  They need to walk, run and play each day. And let’s not forget that there will be poop to scoop day by day for either. Dogs and cats do have emotional needs. But they give much more than they take.  Cats might be the easier animal to care for.  Dogs will be enthusiastic in their affection.

2. Parrots

Parrots are exuberant, fun loving, bright but also expensive. And the fact is that they do in fact bite. Parrots are much smarter than we give them credit for sometimes. They imitate effectively, can problem solve, and have definite emotions. Parrots require heaps of space and do need to occasionally leave their cages. Parrots eat seeds, grains, and nuts. Parrots aren’t great for small children.  But parrots and make great pets for a responsible older child.

3.  Guinea pigs

Are guinea pigs a good pet for children? Of course they are.  But they might be better suited for an older child. Not as fragile as rabbits and generally less skittish than smaller rodents like hamsters and gerbils, guinea pigs are wonderful pets for elementary-school-age kids and older. But remember, younger children should always be supervised around guinea pigs, just as with any other pet.

Pros: the sweetest animals ever, adorable, fun, friendly, and they will love you just as much as you would love them

Cons: Can be very expensive: (bedding, hay and lots of it!!, food, treats of all sorts, vegetables again of all sorts, fruits, lots of entertainng toys, “furniture” for the cage, at least 2 guinea pigs, and maybe even a few vet bills.) The cage needs to be REALLY big for optimum happiness of the pigs. The cage needs to be cleaned a lot too. You also need to spend a lot of time with them including lap time and floor time.

Even though the cons list looks like a lot of work, don’t let it discourage you guinea pigs can be wonderful happy animals that brighten your day.

4-5. Horses, Pygmy Goats

Best Bets for Older ChildrenGoats and horses are outside creatures and obviously require a lot of room to pasture as well as some shelter from the elements (normally a barn). Some might not consider a horse a pet. But they may be the most emotionally advanced animal that can be kept around humans. Pygmy goats are smaller than normal animals and can eat grass providing your yard has enough of it. They are fun loving creatures and keep you from having to mow the lawn.

6. Seahorses

These phenomenal sea-going animals are delicate, yet once you get their marine biological system set up, they are about as simple to nurture as other fish. Seahorses eat around six to eight solidified Mysis shrimp for each day and develop to five to eight inches tall. They require simple to-handle hitching structures like kelp or fake coral. Rather than getting seahorses got in the wild, getting hostage reproduced seahorses does not add to their consumption.

7. Chinchillas

Chinchillas can live 20 years. They eat pellets from the pet store, drink crisp water and need a strong bottomed, wire confine. These delicate, fuzzy, delicate animals must be tenderly snuggled. Chinchillas are fascinating little rodents, they are not the ideal choice for children to look after simply because they are so very fragile. The other thing to consider is their short attention span which means they are not that good at interacting with people for long periods of time. However, as family pets or for older children, these lovely little creatures are a lot of fun to have around and will keep you amused for hours with their silly antics. Chinchillas boast very long life spans which can be anything from 12 to 20 years which means sharing your home with them is a long-term but full of fun commitment.

Why Having Pets is Important

Having pets enhances general well-being and diminishes stress. They give solace through times of misery and injury. Tending to them fabricates character, trust and certainty. At last, having pets shows us about the life cycle and loving those we adore. Regardless of the age when you choose to make them consider, individual ways of life and assets are vital parts of picking awesome pets for more seasoned youngsters.