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Looking for a Small and Child-Friendly Pet

We were visiting my parents a couple weeks ago and my mom has a Yorkie that was so docile she would let my 4-1/2 year old DD carry her around wherever she went around the house. It was absolutely adorable and DD LOVED it. We would like to get her a pet of her own that isn't a dog or cat. Is there anything small that I can trust to not run or nip as long as she is playing nicely with it? Maybe something like a Guinea Pig? I honestly don't know much about that kind of animal....I've always been more of a dog/cat type person.

I'll admit I've not done my research, but rest assured before I get any pet, I will read up on them to know exactly what we are getting into and be willing to accept all responsibilities of that pet before we take the plunge.


Asked by AllAboutKeeley at 10:26 PM on Oct. 11, 2010 in Pets

Level 33 (59,731 Credits)
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Answers (19)
  • Guinea pigs are like any other animal and have natural instincts when they feel threatened or scared. However, I had three guinea pigs for years and I was never bitten by them. They're sweet animals by nature and are really easy to care for. Once they get used to you, feel comfortable with you, and trust you they'll be a really nice addition to the family. They have a high pitched squeal that will tell you when they're feeling threatened or intimidated. However, they're generally quiet animals unless hungry. Their cage does need to be cleaned quite frequently, but if properly cared for they don't leave much of an odor outside of the smell of their bedding. Depending on what type you get they're easy to care for as far as grooming goes. Like cats they typically groom themselves, but maybe once or twice a month may require a bath. Long haired guinea pigs DO need to be brushed daily. All in all they're a great choice.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 10:40 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • You're going to think this is gross and super weird, but a rat would be a great pet for kids. My cousin has one that has the personality of a dog and it's great with her son and her cat (surprisingly). Lol you're like " um no" but I'm telling you they make good pets, better than hamsters or gerbils. I've wanted one for a while now!

    Answer by Evansmommy91 at 10:33 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • There is no way to guarantee an animal will not nip, but based on my previous experience rats are a good first pet. Rats' personalities are a lot like a dog - they are social, they want to be with you, and they are smart so you can train them. I would NOT recommend a hamster or mice. I have never had a guinea pig or a rabbit, but I know lots of people love rabbits. You might want to try an animal rescue that has small animals - that way, the people that work there can make a recommendation. If you go to a pet store they usually don't care, they just want to sell you stuff.

    Answer by getrealmama at 10:34 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • A fish would be good, a guinea pig would be okay as long as you know that you will be the one cleaning out their cage (they are happiest in pairs), feeding, etc and that she requires constant supervision when holding or playing with it. My younger kids have been pretty good with the guinea pigs, but another thing to consider is that she may lose interest and you are stuck with a pet you may or may not really want after she loses interest.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 9:57 AM on Oct. 12, 2010

  • a beta fish

    Answer by mekarevell at 10:28 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Make an appointment with your local vet to talk about pet options. Your new family member will need a vet anyway, so it's a great way to get established. I know it sounds silly, but a good vet will be happy to take 15 mins out of their day to help you understand what will be good for you and your family. My son had a frog when he was 5 and a rat at 7. Then a cat, and suddenly the rat needed a new home. We still have the cat.

    Answer by babyboyzz at 10:30 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Fish are good but you can't "Love them and pet them and squeeze them and name them George". Any "rodents" - Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Gerbils, Rabbits - they will nip BUT if she's taught from the beginning that they nip and you have to be careful.....
    Good Luck!

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 10:31 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • Maybe a bunny. They're so cute && cuddle and aren't loud.

    Answer by reigndrops12689 at 10:32 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • I still have a scar and received my first stitches from a bunny bit. I was just feeding her/him. An accident-still traumatic.
    Why not a dog?

    Answer by tootoobusy at 10:38 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

  • (Continue) They like to play. They like to roam free in a large space. Whether it's a kitchen fenced off or just a large cage. They can be trained to walk up onto platforms for food. Which is actually recommended, as so they don't get lazy and obese. Excersise is important for them as it is for any animal. They're really great pets for a young child if the child is gentle and caring towards them. They're also a great animal for a child to learn responsibility with. If you would like to know more about my experience or have any questions please contact me.

    Hope you find a pet that works for your family!

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 10:42 PM on Oct. 11, 2010

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