Has your little one been asking for a pet? Many people opt to go with smaller animals, like hamsters or gerbils, when choosing their children’s first pets. This definitely makes a lot of sense: these little furballs are small, inexpensive, and easy to care for, and they’re usually gentle. However, there are some things to keep in mind. In this article from Westside Animal Hospital, a Savannah, GA vet offers some advice on this.
Choosing A Pet
All of our animal companions are unique, and they all have their own specific traits. Some, such as Guinea pigs, are very sociable, and need buddies. If you have two kids, you can get them each a Guinea pig. Assuming they are the same sex—you can house the Guinea pigs together. Others, such as Syrian hamsters, should always live alone. Other things to consider are size, longevity, and dietary needs.
We always recommend supervising children when they are handling their pets. If your little one is still quite young, have them sit or kneel to play with their furry friend. That way, if the pet jumps or gets dropped, they won’t fall far, and will likely land in your child’s lap. It’s also very important for children to understand that even the tiniest animal is a living being that should be treated kindly and gently at all times.
You’ll also need to supervise the pet’s care. Most pocket pets don’t need a whole lot of daily care. You (or your child) will just need to remove waste and uneaten food from their habitat, and provide fresh food and water. You’ll also need to clean the cage and change out the bedding regularly.
It’s easy for children to forget that pets can’t always eat the same things we do. Little ones sometimes try to ‘share’ their goodies with their animal friends, not realizing that they may be giving their furry buddy something that isn’t safe for them. Every kind of pet has their own unique needs, so you’ll need to do some research. However, there are some things that are bad for almost every animal. That list includes garlic and onions; chocolate; caffeine; avocados; fruits with seeds or pips in them; tomato and potato leaves; mushrooms; and anything that contains xylitol.
Please contact Westside Animal Hospital, your Savannah, GA animal clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!