“Starter” Pets

Many parents with children asking for a pet of their own think of getting a “starter” pet; that is, an easy to care for first pet that doesn’t require too much space, time, maintenance or financial resources. There is really no such thing as a “starter” pet. The term “starter” pet implies that the pet is disposable, or meant to be used as a “practice” pet for children not yet ready for a dog or cat. While pets can teach children important lessons in responsibility, compassion and caring, every pet you bring into your home deserves to be provided with the best of care

Be sure that your child is ready to commit to caring for a first pet for the lifespan of that pet, and you should also be prepared to step in to provide care for the pet if necessary. Just because a pet is small doesn’t mean it will be low-maintenance, and children can get distracted and become bored over time with their new pet. Realize that, if well cared for, even a goldfish can live over a decade!

Typical first pets include fish, lizards, hermit crabs, parakeets, small snakes, and rodents such as mice, hamsters and gerbils. Each of these pets has unique basic needs regarding housing, diet, care and handling, which you should research and understand before bringing into your home. When choosing a first pet, consider your child’s age and maturity level. Think also about how long the pet will live, who will pay for veterinary care and pet supplies, and what you will do with the pet when you go away on vacation. The ASPCA estimates that it will cost approximately $300 per year to care for a small “pocket pet” such as a hamster, mouse or gerbil.

A first pet can bring a world of joy to a child, but bringing even a small, first pet into your home is a serious long-term obligation.

About author

Abby Rosenberg

Abby Rosenberg is a PetMeds employee and long-time cat lover. She was a volunteer for several years at a local no-kill cats only rescue shelter. This has prepared her for her most challenging role to date: secretary, photographer, social coordinator and treat dispenser for Daisy, and Daisy’s sidekick Harley. Daisy is a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, and Harley is a “cow-cat” who was adopted from the shelter where Abby volunteered. You can also find Abby on Google+

There are 2 comments

  • […] “Starter” Pets While starter pets require less care than a dog, they still require proper care. Make sure your kids understand that they need to be careful and responsible with their pet before agreeing to purchase one. […]

  • […] “Starter” Pets While starter pets require less care than a dog, they still require proper care. Make sure your kids understand that they need to be careful and responsible with their pet before agreeing to purchase one. […]

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

     

    Receive updates from 1800PetMeds