How to Choose the Right PetHow is a parent to know what is the right pet for your child?  “Moooooommmm! I want a dog!” You knew it was coming, but not this quickly. With so many kids in the neighborhood who have dogs, it was bound to happen. Your child has asked for a dog. But money is tight and Dad has allergies, so what can you do that will make both sides happy?

Selecting the Right Pet for Your Child

There are several types of small animals that make good first pets for kids. They may not be the standard dog and cat, but at least they can give your child a sense of ownership, friendship and responsibility.

Betta Fish

A betta fish makes a perfect first pet. The males come in a wide variety of colors and are actually fun to watch. Add a snail for extra measure, along with aquatic plants and colorful gravel. Water needs to be changed once a week. Use bottled water or tap water that has been sitting uncovered for three days. The tap water must have de-chlorination drops in it as well. It is best to purchase a small plastic tank meant for a betta that includes a small air filter.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs are good first pets for older children, but is it the right pet for your child? They may pinch, so they are not recommended for smaller kids. You should purchase more than one hermit crab because they are used to living in groups. You can learn how to take care of a hermit crab at.

African Clawed Frogs

Don’t let the name fool you – these little guys are actually fairly easy to find. Go to any local pet store that carries fish and you will find several to choose from. An African Clawed Frog can be kept in an inexpensive betta fish setup that includes a lid and small air filter. Add gravel to the bottom, two live plants, a snail for cleaning and bottled water. As with a betta, only used bottled water or de-chlorinated water that has been sitting for three days. The container you use must have a lid. If you later find your frog appears to have strings hanging off of him, it actually means he is molting and is healthy!

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Tips for Choosing the Right Pet

If you do decide to try one of the pets described above, don’t give up if one doesn’t work out.  We have tried everyone of these!  If you have a cat as a pet already, they will try to get to your pet and eat it.  In our case, they always succeeded.  Still the journey was awesome and my daughter was able to enjoy caring for a pet all her own.  We did eventually get a dog!

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