Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Shutterstock

The best pets for kids and families

No home is complete without an animal, so explore the best pets for kids and see what works best for your family

Written by
Danielle Valente
Advertising

Every little one needs an animal sidekick, and there are plenty of options for your growing family. If you are thinking about taking the plunge, explore our list of the best pets for kids and let the fun begin—but don’t forget to do your research, because certain animals cannot be kept as pets in NYC. Go ahead: Breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to cave in to those demands of a tarantula.

You and your crew should also check out the best animal movies for kids, get involved in animal care classes in NYC and have a laugh while watching funny animal videos.

Best pets for kids

Dogs

Dogs

Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, and kids are no exception to the popular saying. If you have a child who is ready to take on a new responsibility, pups are the way to go. The American Kennel Club recommends getting golden and labrador retrievers for their friendly demeanors. If you’re a NYC fam who has to be conscious of space (or lack thereof), AKC’s picks for smaller pooches include beagles for their sweet personalities and bull dogs for their calmness.

Cats

Cats

What little kid is going to say no to a cat? Although they’re known for being self-sufficient, cats still require a little TLC, so it might be a good option if you’re concerned about whether or not your child can handle a dog. PetMD recommends the friendly Birman cat for quiet kids who like to curl up with a good story and the Maine Coon for those who are a little more adventurous and need a partner in crime (don’t worry, not literally).

Advertising
Birds

Birds

If you’re not quite ready to commit to a dog or cat (and if your little one is likely to forget about said dog or cat within a couple of weeks) a bird might be a good plan. They’re just as cute but do not require constant attention. In fact, Canaries are just fine with hanging out by themselves singing a tune. For those in search of a little more interaction, a Parakeet might be a better fit, according to The Spruce.

Betta Fish

Betta Fish

Colorful, eclectic and perfect first pets, Betta Fish are great for teaching youngsters all about responsibility. Luckily, they don’t require a hefty maintenance fee, either. Want to know what’s really bizzare about these little fellas? They have what’s called a labyrinth, which allows them to breathe air outside of water (just don’t let your little one in on that tidbit).  

Advertising
Gerbils

Gerbils

These little and cute rodents are ideal for older children, roughly 10 and up, according to VCA. They can be social, albeit squirmy when held, but fun to care for. There is a downside, though: They’re oftentimes nocturnal, so make sure that spinny wheel they’re using for exercise at night is far away from everyone’s bedroom.

Rabbits

Rabbits

Once Peter Cottontail comes hopping down the bunny trail and into your home (and hearts), he is difficult to resist. These pets are ideal for older children (double digits) as they require a little bit more responsibility and oftentimes interact better with a calm, gentle personality, according to The Humane Society of the United States. Don’t let their size fool you: Bunnies might be small, but they need attention. But honestly: Who can so no to those cute lil’ whiskers and perky ears?

Advertising
Hamsters

Hamsters

Like Gerbils, hamsters require gentleness and someone who is going to be fairly mild, so these lil’ ones might be best for children above 8, according to the The Humane Society. But consider this your warning: They thrive at night, so take your schedule into consideration be purchasing. If you and your kids are heavy sleepers, proceed!

Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs

Once they get over their shyness, guinea pigs are going to be your new BFF. They’re sweet and cute, but come with a fairly large responsibility, such as being groomed regularly. The Humane Society says that these pets need to be let out of their cages on a daily basis, so don’t get one for your child who won’t remember to give his or her new pet a little affection every day.   

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising