Best pets for kids.

Caring for a pet is a rewarding experience that teaches children responsibility, empathy, and compassion. When choosing your child’s first pet, careful consideration should be given to the amount and type of care the pet will require, and the ability of your child (and the rest of the family) to provide it.

The pet experts at Marketplace Veterinary Hospital have put together some tips to guide you and your child toward finding the perfect pet.

For Starters

Each child is an individual, with a unique personality, needs, and abilities. However, there are some universal factors everyone should think about when choosing a pet:

  • Is there room for everything this pet will need? 
  • Is there enough outdoor space (for a dog)?
  • Are you willing to care for the pet if your child loses interest or leaves for college?
  • Are you financially prepared for up-front costs, routine wellness care, and unexpected medical costs if the animal becomes sick or injured?
  • Are there other animals in your household that might not “click” with the new addition?
  • Is there appropriate nearby veterinary care? (This is particularly important for exotic pets).

Finding the Right Companion Pet

Low maintenance pets are best for young children or families with busy lifestyles. Older adolescents able to take on more responsibilities can explore a wider range of pet options. Here are a few family favorites:


The quintessential first pet, fish are colorful, quiet, and fun to watch. Depending upon the type of aquarium and fish, cleaning time is minimal, and feeding them is simple. Plus, there’s no fur or hairballs to clean up! These easy-to-care-for pets are ideal for kids and busy families.


Cats are wonderfully cuddle-worthy, kid-friendly pets that don’t require long walks, bathing, or trips outside to do their business. Kittens are particularly playful and enjoy a wide variety of toys. Adding felines to your family is also a great way to teach your children about the importance of pet adoption and spaying and neutering pets


Dogs are a perennial favorite as a child’s first pet for good reason: they’re affectionate, energetic, and provide loyal companionship. Providing proper care for a dog requires adult supervision, so make sure you have time in your schedule for housetraining, long walks, and plenty of dog and family interaction.

Hamsters and Guinea Pigs

If you’re not ready for a pet that will roam the house, or if you don’t think your child is ready for a cat or a dog, small, caged pets like hamsters and guinea pigs can make perfect pets. Your child can still learn the importance of feeding, watering, and interacting with an animal. 

Let Us Know if We Can Help

Choosing a child’s first pet is exciting, but it’s also a big step that requires careful thought. If you welcome a new cat or dog, please contact us to schedule a wellness visit. It’s a great way to teach children about the importance of keeping pets healthy.