Your Child’s First Pet (Part 3)

There are so many good reasons to allow your child to own and care for their first pet. This will bring on a whole new level of responsibility and expectations for your child, and will prove to be a educational experience, as long as ground rules are set and your child or children understand the responsibility that goes along with caring for a living animal.

Last time we went over a good “starter pet”, the freshwater tropical fish. The advantage of owning a purely observational pet could be just the ticket for you and your child, depending on their interest level and your willingness to occasionally get your hands wet to help with the trickier maintenance aspects. Now, let’s go over another good option for a first pet, rodents.

Despite some common opinions, rodents tend to make for great first pets as well. They are extremely easy to care for, and are fun to watch as well. Guinea pigs, fancy rats, gerbils, and hamsters are good candidates. Regardless of what some pet store workers or owners try to tell you, it’s never a good idea to house these different types of animals together. Territory issues and different diets among these types or rodents are a couple reasons why co-habitation is not advised.

Your child should fully understand that rodents are mammals, and they require fresh food and clean water at all times. You will want to closely monitor your child to ensure that your rodent pets are not starved or neglected, and that a proper feeding understanding has set in with your child. Also, the animal’s bedding will need to be changed at least every other day. This is possibly an opportunity to spend time with your child and supervise to ensure safe handling is being practiced.

Because of the extremely high levels of attention that ferrets and chinchillas require, they are not recommended for younger children or first time rodent owners. Guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats will usually respond positively to handling and affection, and can tend to get very socialized if handled often. Just make sure you supervise your child until you are fully confident that both respective parties are safe and happy, and you are well on your way to happy pet ownership!

Don’t forget to protect those you love and care for the most with a home security system, which can provide a lifeline in case of medical emergencies, fires, and of course burglaries. I personally recommend ADT home security systems. ADT is the leading provider of home security systems in the U.S., with more than 100 years of experience.


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