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Having a pet can be one of the most important things in a child’s life. But for a busy family, it’s important to find low maintenance pets that will fit into your lifestyle.

There are countless studies that prove just how beneficial pets can be to both kids and their mums. From teaching responsibility to learning empathy, pets can truly be a child’s best friend.

However, a dog or a cat might not be the right choice for your family right now. They’re a lot of responsibility, can be expensive, they are certainly not low maintenance pets and it’s hard to give them the life they deserve if you live in a small space.

Luckily, there are other options that your child should be able to care for (almost) all by themselves. And many of these pets provide similar benefits for children as dogs and cats do.

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If you’re looking for fun, lower-cost, low maintenance pets for your child, here are our top five choices for you to consider.

1. Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs are cute and small. This means they can fit into a relatively cosy habitat, so he won’t take up too much space in your home. In fact, your child could probably keep the guinea pig right on their dresser.
Guinea Pigs typically live comfortably and play in their cage all day. All the child needs to do is feed their pet and clean the cage about once a week.
Just be careful if your child likes to take the guinea pig out of the cage to play with it. The guinea pig will likely try to run away, and you don’t want a loose guinea pig running around your house.
You should be able to find these low maintenance pets at most pet stores and they don’t cost that much either.

2. Frog

Frogs are cute and can be found just about anywhere. Your child may be able to find their own frog pet while playing around outside!
Once they catch a frog, they can create a habitat for the frog and care for them. You can create a good life for a frog in a small tank. Plus, you can feed your frog different insects you find outside.
You may choose to keep the frog outside in case they escape. Luckily, you’ll be able to find another frog quite easily if that happens. You can also find a frog and all the necessary food at your local pet store.

3. Fish

Fish are the perfect starter pet. They are also very low maintenance pets. All you need is a small fish tank with a couple of accessories, fish food, and a fish.
All the child has to remember to do is feed the fish every day and clean the tank from time to time. You can help your child clean the tank if they are too young or if you have a more complicated setup with filters and other considerations.
The fish won’t be able to escape easily (although it’s amazing what kids end up doing), and the pet is easily replaceable in the case of an accident. Your child will get to enjoy watching their water-dwelling friend live in their home with little responsibility for them.
If your child does well taking care of the fish, you may be able to move up to additional fish, a larger tank, exotic fish, or turtles. Just be aware that things like tank maintenance are much more important for fish than some of the other creatures on this list.

4. Birds

There’s something magical about watching birds. They are colourful, free, and vocal. It’s nice to bring that energy into your home.
The good news is that birds are particularly low maintenance pets and don’t require all that much care, either. They just need a cage, food, water, and some space.
Surprisingly, birds can also be quite affectionate. They may even bond with the child and become friendly.
The best bird breeds for children include:

  • parakeets
  • macaws
  • cockatoos
  • conures
  • doves

The right breed of bird can make a big difference since some birds require a lot of space to fly and could get sad stuck in a cage.

5. Snake

Hear me out. Some kids like the creepy and crawly things in the world. Don’t deny them what they enjoy! Most pet snakes are harmless. Plus, they’re low maintenance pets and it’s easy to care for them. You keep them in a secure tank with a heat lamp. Every now and then, you feed them.
They are usually quite relaxed until feeling time. Watching your snake eat will become a fun family pastime after a while. The child will also learn what snakes are dangerous and which ones aren’t, which can help them when they encounter snakes in the wild. You may even grow to enjoy having the snake around as well!

If you aren’t so keen on snakes, consider getting a small lizard. A small lizard may be more energetic, but it will eat more manageable food and isn’t as intimidating.

There are a number of options available for the child who enjoys animals but isn’t ready to care for a cat or a dog. Some of the best options include small rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, and reptiles. You’re ideally looking for a pet that isn’t known for lasting too long, and you also want a pet that isn’t too large.

Your child will learn responsibility by caring for this animal. They will need to feed it and clean up after it. As they mature, they may grow more responsible. Soon, they may be able to care for a larger pet when the time comes.

What do you think are the most low maintenance pets? Tell us in the comments below.

  • My son desperately wants a snake but I’m not a fan of having on in the house so we’re looking into getting a bearded water dragon in stead. A lot of research to do first!

    Reply

  • I don’t feel like any are. We’ve had fish (that died), and a bird (that got out and flew away), and now a dog. So I’m no authority on it, but find that I always ended up responsible for the pet/s.

    Reply

  • I had pet lizards as a kid however I lived on a farm so they were super easy maintenance outdoors.

    Reply

  • The best low maintenance pets are those live free outside and only require [they don’t really need it, but it’s fun for the kids to do] occasional food. Watching their life evolve is worthwhile and the kids won’t constantly be in trouble for not cleaning the cage, or tank. or yard, etc.

    Reply

  • It is illegal to keep most frogs and other wildlife without a permit. This article is irresponsibly written. Also a guinea pig’s cage needs to be cleaned more than once a week. They also need; to have their nails clipped regularly, care with their diet, clean water daily, hair clipped (if they are long haired) etc.
    Having owned many different pets over the years, I believe that whilst we may have great intentions of getting our children to look after the pets, children under 14 are not usually consistently responsible to be sole carers of animals. Parents need to take on the commitment especially for when the children get bored.

    Reply

  • I don’t know of any pet that is low maintenance. They all need looking after. I suppose the easiest would be fish but you’d need to clean the tank. My granddaughters used to have crazy crabs and they seemed to be very low maintenance. I have birds, fish and a dog. To me they are worth the time and maintenance it takes to have them around.

    Reply

  • We have a cat, fish and a bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are a fantastic pet for kids. They’re super friendly lizards, and don’t bite like blue tongues can. My daughter can feed her’s mealworms by hand.

    Reply

  • I like birds. We have a bush tree in our backyard.My husband made small bird house as well.My kids enjoy watching how birds making the nest their.

    Reply

  • All pets need plenty of attention even if ‘low maintenance’. It is important for children to know that owning and caring for a pet is a huge forever responsibility.

    Reply

  • I love having pets around. Chickens are great to have. They are cute, low maintenance and you get the bonus of having fresh eggs.

    Reply

  • Fish are very low maintenance. Guinea pigs aren’t in my experience.

    Reply

  • We have had many pets over the years and I’d definitely say fish are the lowest maintenance. We have found ourselves moving around a fair bit over the last few years, so we only have a cat now and she travels everywhere with us.

    Reply

  • Have had fish, dogs, chickens, a cat as pets and then there were the lizards…they were surprisingly great pets and we were able to let them have the run of the house while we were home. The children made a pottery house for them and they appeared to like sleeping in there. The aquarium they decked out for the lizards had sandy bottom, a small, shallow water pond and small rocks to sun on or hide behind, some small, hardy plants and we made sure the aquarium had warmer areas that the sun hit and areas of shade during the hottest parts of the day. Lizards are GREAT pets and ours happily sat on the children’s shoulders or chest as they watched television or enjoyed being handled and ran on to their hands from the aquarium. They made very interactive pets and were very low maintenance. The children would search for live insects in the garden, to feed them and I would replace a milk bottle lid of crumbs or honey to attract ants into the aquarium…they liked feeding on them!

    Reply

  • I live guinea pigs and rabbits. I always removed the bottom of the cage and placed wire on it, so all you need to do is moving the cage over the grass and feeding (No cleaning).
    I always loved backyard chickens too (and esspecially the fresh laid eggs of course).

    Reply

  • Guena pigs and hamsters are the worst, they breed so fast and their wee stinks…

    Reply

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